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Orion AZ-EQ6 Owners: Wobble In RA Axis

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#1 10gauge

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 07:49 PM

Orion AZ-EQ6 Owners: Please check your mounts for wobble in RA axis.

I just received my new Orion AZ-EQ6 mount today directly from Orion. I am NOT impressed. I tightened everything down to check for stiffness and I notice a wobble in the RA axis when I rock it back and forth. No slop, just a slight movement only along the circular RA axis. The DEC axis is firm.

This mount is not befitting a premium refractor like the TEC 140. In a previous thread it was stated that a slight wobble is normal.

http://www.cloudynig...5735340/page...

But what if I want to use the mount for AP? This rocking back and forth in slight wind is sure to affect AP and yield horrible results, not to mention severe PE-like issues. It defeats the purpose of lugging around 74 lbs. of heft.

I feel like returning the mount. I would appreciate any advice and your experiences. Do other owners have the same issue? Do other mounts like the G11 have a similar issue with the RA axis?

Thanks,
George

#2 jrcrilly

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:00 PM

Release the RA clutch, rotate 90 degrees, re-engage the clutch, and see if it is different. Then do it again shifting another 90 degrees, and yet again. If it's the same everywhere the worm probably just requires adjustment. If the wobble goes away at some rotation, the worm wheel is too out of round and further adjustment isn't possible, If the wobble never goes away, but is less at some rotation, the worm can be adjusted with it at that rotation so the wobble should be less everywhere.

-edit- Ya know, I'm not certain where the clutch is in the drive train on that model. To be sure, change the above procedure. Leave the clutch engaged, and use the drive motor to do each rotation. That way you are sure that you are moving to different positions on the worm wheel.

#3 10gauge

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:29 PM

Thanks, John. I didn't even power up the mount yet. I only checked the mechanicals. I discovered the anomaly within 15 minutes of unpacking - Short lived glee! To test it, I'll have to solder connectors to a 13.8VDC 5A supply to power it up. I'll try to see if the problem resolves by changing the worm position. If it does, it means that I should also be looking for a precision worm gear already for this mount?!

#4 jrcrilly

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 09:21 PM

I'll try to see if the problem resolves by changing the worm position. If it does, it means that I should also be looking for a precision worm gear already for this mount?!


A different worm won't help. If the slop varies with position it's the worm wheel that is out of round. It's common for them to be out a little bit, so the worm adjustment should always be done at the "tightest" point.

#5 EFT

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 01:21 PM

Thanks, John. I didn't even power up the mount yet. I only checked the mechanicals. I discovered the anomaly within 15 minutes of unpacking - Short lived glee! To test it, I'll have to solder connectors to a 13.8VDC 5A supply to power it up. I'll try to see if the problem resolves by changing the worm position. If it does, it means that I should also be looking for a precision worm gear already for this mount?!


To be honest, I have to chuckle a little bit about a $2300 mount not befitting a $5200 scope. It really isn't befitting such an expensive scope if you think about it that way. But that doesn't mean it won't work. If you truly want a mount befitting an expensive refractor out of the box, then you should return the Atlas and spend as much (actually more) on the mount than on the scope. As time goes on, I find myself agreeing more with the idea that you should spend at least as much on your mount as you spend on your scope.

As stated, some play in the axes, particularly in the RA is very common and not really a problem at all. A slight imbalance in the axis will take care of that slope everywhere except when you cross the meridian. However, it can often be lessened with a slight adjustment. I run into this issue frequently when I adjust a mount after HyperTuning. The mount get shipped to a different environment and gears either end up too tight or too loose (too tight being far more noticeable and problematic). The worms are not spring loaded so they cannot adjust for changes in climate and temperature.

There are some instructions for making the worm spacing adjustment here: Atlas Worm Spacing Adjustment. It is not very difficult.

High precision gears won't necessarily get you less backlash, only better precision. The stock gears are made so that they can be fit rather sloppy and often be tightened to show little apparent backlash. However, performance may be degraded by overtightening and gear error will be accentuated. Because high precision gears have a much tighter fit but the machining of the mount itself is nowhere near as high precision, it is often necessary to purposefully leave backlash in the gears in order to avoid binding.

If you really can't deal with backlash, then you need to go to a higher quality mount that probably has spring-loaded worms. The Atlas cannot be retrofitted to spring load the worms. The Atlas is a good mount and should work fine with your TEC140, but its no AP, SB, TAK, etc. and never will be.

#6 martl

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:15 PM

I am operating mine with an 8"f4 Newton about 22 lbs and with a 10"f5 about 37 lbs. The measurements of mine and 2 other samples suggest a consistent precision in tracking. The mount should have no problems carrying your tec 140 also photographically. Although I wouldn't exclude a faulty worm, it is more likely that there is too much play in RA. This doesn't influence guiding accuracy as long as you take care that the mount always is slightly east-heavy. You can adjust this play (mine was adjusted by our dealer), but the worm shouldn't be pressed against the worm wheel too tightly. Cold temps let the aluminium castings shrink enough that a tight fit at room temperature means a too tight fit in really cold weather, the mount will work, but this has some influence on guiding accuracy. Give the mount a chance, based on my experience it is a really nice piece of equipment!

CS

Martin

#7 martl

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:29 PM

BTW, this is a 100% crop of a single 18-minute frame taken with my 10" at 1.440mm fl. The other 7 Frames looked identical.

CS
Martin

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#8 BKBrown

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 06:18 PM

Geez George, I hope you settle this to your satisfaction ASAP. I didn't run into any kind of wobble issue and the mount handles my TEC 140 just fine (in alt-az mode anyway). I do recall having to adjust my first Atlas which was a bit loose...but it tightened right up with minimal tweaking. Good luck!

Clear Skies,
Brian

#9 Skrenlin

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 07:42 PM

Ed, I think this is the $2400 mount, not the $1400 one.

#10 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 08:22 PM

Ed,

I have the "white" version of this mount and based upon my use of it this past weekend, the accuracy of its tracking exceeded my expectations. I was in A/A mode with a C9.25" OTA and I was successful at observing targets on the monitor using my MallinCam with up to 2 minute unguided exposures.

I would expect no difference in the results with the Orion version.

Jack Huerkamp

#11 EFT

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 09:10 PM

Ed,

I have the "white" version of this mount and based upon my use of it this past weekend, the accuracy of its tracking exceeded my expectations. I was in A/A mode with a C9.25" OTA and I was successful at observing targets on the monitor using my MallinCam with up to 2 minute unguided exposures.

I would expect no difference in the results with the Orion version.

Jack Huerkamp


Agreed. I did have to go back and change the dollar amount in my first reply. I think that this mount should be fine for the OP's scope, but if he is looking for super high precision design and manufacture, then he will need to spend more.

#12 10gauge

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 09:33 PM

Many thanks John, Ed, Martin, Brian, Skrenlin, and Jack! I powered it up and rotated the RA position until I found a firmer position in the center, but 90 degrees from center there is still a slight wobble when I try to rock it back and forth. The amount of wobble is mostly felt in one's hands rather than something that is grossly visible. You guys are right, it does feel like the gear has a slight play within the worm assembly. The amount of movement is just slight enough that I can just barely detect the pointer in the setting circle move when I rock it. I wasn't expecting any play when I bought it. I also assumed a slight nudge or any wind might be detrimental if I do AP in the presence of any play in the RA axis...

So, you guys think I should keep the mount?

Can you guys please check YOUR mounts to see if you can FEEL AND SEE any nudge when you try to rock it back and forth in the RA axis?

BTW, I couldn't find the link for the Atlas worm adjustment.

Does anyone know if the G11 has any play in the RA or DEC axes?

Ed, I just received the T-Rex today. Thank you! I haven't opened it yet as I am trying to solve this first. This is the $2,300 AZ EQ-6. This is first astronomical gear I've owned as I bought everything from scratch.. Yikes, I've already spent $17,000 on top of the line equipment: TEC 140, Baader VF, Maxbright Diagonal, Mk V bino, all Televue and XW EPs, Lumicon filters, Starseek, custom cases, AZ EQ-6, T-Rex, etc... Spending $6k++ for a mount would put me in the $20k range. That's a lot for a fledgling hobby. That's why I went with the AZ EQ-6 and also for portability. I also wanted a dedicated alt-az too without CW like the T-Rex because I plan to use that mode 70% of the time, 25% GEM, and maybe 5% AP.

Thanks,
George

#13 EFT

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:41 PM

Many thanks John, Ed, Martin, Brian, Skrenlin, and Jack! I powered it up and rotated the RA position until I found a firmer position in the center, but 90 degrees from center there is still a slight wobble when I try to rock it back and forth. The amount of wobble is mostly felt in one's hands rather than something that is grossly visible. You guys are right, it does feel like the gear has a slight play within the worm assembly. The amount of movement is just slight enough that I can just barely detect the pointer in the setting circle move when I rock it. I wasn't expecting any play when I bought it. I also assumed a slight nudge or any wind might be detrimental if I do AP in the presence of any play in the RA axis...

So, you guys think I should keep the mount?

Can you guys please check YOUR mounts to see if you can FEEL AND SEE any nudge when you try to rock it back and forth in the RA axis?

BTW, I couldn't find the link for the Atlas worm adjustment.

Does anyone know if the G11 has any play in the RA or DEC axes?

Ed, I just received the T-Rex today. Thank you! I haven't opened it yet as I am trying to solve this first. This is the $2,300 AZ EQ-6. This is first astronomical gear I've owned as I bought everything from scratch.. Yikes, I've already spent $17,000 on top of the line equipment: TEC 140, Baader VF, Maxbright Diagonal, Mk V bino, all Televue and XW EPs, Lumicon filters, Starseek, custom cases, AZ EQ-6, T-Rex, etc... Spending $6k++ for a mount would put me in the $20k range. That's a lot for a fledgling hobby. That's why I went with the AZ EQ-6 and also for portability. I also wanted a dedicated alt-az too without CW like the T-Rex because I plan to use that mode 70% of the time, 25% GEM, and maybe 5% AP.

Thanks,
George


I would keep the mount. I think this is very normal and expected behavior for this and similar mounts and should not cause you any great problems.

I went back and edited my post again to see if I could make the link to the instructions work and I think it is now (it's a download link). If not, just send me and e-mail and I will send them to you. There will be some slight difference from the EQ6/CGEM/Atlas mounts, but the process should be the same.

#14 frolinmod

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 01:37 AM

I was disappointed that my EQ6 had such play. I was impressed that my AZ-EQ6 did not. Ed has a point though. That OTA you have there deserves a Paramount MX or at least an A-P Mach 1. Your mount should be the most expensive component of the system.

#15 10gauge

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:23 PM

You guys have been helpful. If I really needed the Mach 1, I could, but I need portability to take my gear 80 miles away. I thought that the AZ EQ-6 would be my weight limit. I called Telescopes.com and they want me to write everything down on email and determine where to go from there. I am glad I bought directly from Orion, but God forbid I should have to deal with customer service for Chinese gear?! These things are best when everything works well out of the box. If there is any hassle, it's going back. I should not have to be opening and tweaking a new mount.

Questions:
1. Are any of you getting this wobble or nudge in the RA axis?
2. Does the G11 exhibit wobble in any axes?
3. Does the Mach1 exhibit any wobble? I do like Astro-physics - real classy group on the phone.

#16 my_universe

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:24 PM

So, you guys think I should keep the mount?


By all means, keep it. What you're reporting is pretty normal, not a defect, but if you have to have it so that there is no perceptible play, then all it takes is an adjustment of the gear mesh, which is easy to do. You don't have to disassemble anything to do it.

Steve

#17 EFT

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:34 PM

Questions:
1. Are any of you getting this wobble or nudge in the RA axis?
2. Does the G11 exhibit wobble in any axes?
3. Does the Mach1 exhibit any wobble? I do like Astro-physics - real classy group on the phone.


1. I have not has an AZEQ6 in the shop yet, but the basic worm and ring gear design essentially requires that there be a little backlash. The amount will very from mount to mount with some feeling like there is none and others a lot.
2. The G11 may exhibit play as well but it is usually less because of the much smaller teeth on the worm wheel and the higher precision of the worm and wheel. It is not however perfect.
3. Don't know about the Mach1, but the reality is that gears are seldom truly round and thus spring loading of the worm is often used to take up the inevitable high and low spots in the worm wheel.

#18 Skrenlin

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 07:18 PM

Mine came with noticeable play in the RA axis. Orion sent me gear lash adjustment instructions and offered to repair it if I didn't feel comfortable following those instructions. I haven't actually tried to adjust out the play yet, though. The RA movement is about half the width of one of the RA scale marks. I wouldn't think wind wouldl actually be a problem, especially if the gear is (un)balanced properly for astrophotography (east-heavy if I'm not mistaken).

Johnathan

#19 10gauge

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:36 PM

Thanks a million everyone! I followed the instructions on Astro Baby. 1/4 turn is all it took and the RA axis is now rock solid. I checked it 360 degrees to be sure and there is no wobble. This one's a keeper guyzos!

Ed, I unpacked the T-Rex and just assembled it. I am going to use it with the AZ EQ-6 Tripod.

Questions:
1. I can't figure out how to attached the EQ-6 pier extension, the screw engages the T-Rex by only 1/8". That's not enough. Photo below. Any recommendations?
2. How is the best way to attach the quick slew handle.
3. Should I be removing the screwed pin on the tripod?

Here are the photos from this evening:

http://www.flickr.co...24@N03/?saved=1

#20 Skrenlin

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 09:19 PM

10gauge,

I'd recommend you move the azimuth pin on the AZ tripod to the other hole. Unscrew it where it's at, screw it into the other hole until its all the way in, then back it out until its square and then snug the nut down so it's solid.

The setup seems more stable with the counterweights over a leg when parked as opposed to being between the two like its shipped.

#21 EFT

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 09:22 PM

Thanks a million everyone! I followed the instructions on Astro Baby. 1/4 turn is all it took and the RA axis is now rock solid. I checked it 360 degrees to be sure and there is no wobble. This one's a keeper guyzos!

Ed, I unpacked the T-Rex and just assembled it. I am going to use it with the AZ EQ-6 Tripod.

Questions:
1. I can't figure out how to attached the EQ-6 pier extension, the screw engages the T-Rex by only 1/8". That's not enough. Photo below. Any recommendations?
2. How is the best way to attach the quick slew handle.
3. Should I be removing the screwed pin on the tripod?

Here are the photos from this evening:

http://www.flickr.co...24@N03/?saved=1


George,

I answered you off-line.

Ed.

#22 MikeCMP

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 09:35 PM

Thanks a million everyone! I followed the instructions on Astro Baby. 1/4 turn is all it took and the RA axis is now rock solid. I checked it 360 degrees to be sure and there is no wobble. This one's a keeper guyzos!

Ed, I unpacked the T-Rex and just assembled it. I am going to use it with the AZ EQ-6 Tripod.

Questions:
1. I can't figure out how to attached the EQ-6 pier extension, the screw engages the T-Rex by only 1/8". That's not enough. Photo below. Any recommendations?
2. How is the best way to attach the quick slew handle.
3. Should I be removing the screwed pin on the tripod?

Here are the photos from this evening:

http://www.flickr.co...24@N03/?saved=1


When you say you rotated it, did you rotate it with the bandbox, driving the motors, or just loosen the clutch? You should definitely drive it with the motors to see if you have any binding. If I recall correctly, the worm and worm wheel gear do not rotate when the clutch is loosened.

Check it to make sure you don't get the stall problem that can be common with these mounts. Interestingly with my atlas, the same worm gear settings work great in winter and can cause a stall in summer, probably due to the very slight change in size due to the higher temps.

The other thing I was going to mention was that the bearing retaining rings could be loose. I had some platypus in mine, and after removing the covers on the worm bearings, I saw then when turning the RA axis. Tat the bearing/ worm shaft was moving a few mm. I tightened the ring to snug it up and that play is gone.

Glad you kept it, I love mine!

Mike

#23 10gauge

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 10:00 PM

Thank you Ed, Johnathan, and Mike! I'll change the location of the azimuth pin. Good point. Oh yes, I rotated 360 degrees with the clutch engaged - checking every 30 degrees of so - smooth as silk, no binding, no cracklings. Truly rock solid. Just a quarter turn and what a difference! Wow, I really didn't feel like going through the hassle of customer service nor having to spend another $6k+. I love the fact that I have 2 alt-az options. The T-Rex and EQ-6 tripod combo are so light for transporting - Thank you Ed!

#24 frolinmod

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:14 PM

Congratulations on adjusting your mount. That was easy eh? This is definitely one nice mount. I do hope we get a "fix" for the cord wrap "problem" because it is a bit annoying.

You need to move the pin from the tripod to the top North side of the tripod extension with the bevel facing North.

If the extension is not screwing very far into the mount then you need to back it out and jiggle those washers around and get them aligned until it will screw into the mount. It should screw in plenty.

Note that the three screws around the top and bottom of the tripod extension can be easy to strip. Watch out for that.

#25 10gauge

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 12:54 PM

I see what you mean, it's also a bit short. Maybe Orion will come out with a 6-10 ft accessory cord? Hey, will phone cord work?
Otherwise it's a lot of mount for $2300.






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