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SkyWatcher AZ-EQ6 GT Experiences

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#1 Lurch

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 02:00 PM

For those who have the SkyWatcher AZ-EQ6 GT, aside from the cord-wrap issue, I'm curious about any other experiences/ opinions.
Also,
is there a difference between the SkyWatcher AZ-EQ6 GT or the SkyWatcher AZ-EQ6 GT GPS?

Are they available in the U.S.?

What about the drive belts? From some of the pictures I've seen, it looks like the mount is gear/belt driven. All drive belts stretch immediately, so has that been a problem?

#2 Mike X.

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 02:23 PM

My experience so far , even if limited because i have the mount only for 2 weeks, is very positive.
I bought it for DSO AP so mostly EQ use.
Unfortunatelly i didn't had neither time nor good weather for testing the mount as i would like to and bring you some data/photos...i hope to be able to do so soon.


#3 Vagus

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 05:46 PM

I'm curious too. After reading the mostly positive threads about it here on CN, I'm considering buying one for a portable rig. Anyone done any AP with it yet?

#4 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 07:36 PM

I posted this review to KW Telescope in Kitchener, Canada where I purchased my mount from:

AZ-EQ6 Exceeds Expectations Review by MallinCam Jack

I received my AZ-EQ6 in early December, 2012 and finally got a chance to put it through its paces at a star party the weekend of April 5th. I set it up in Alt-Az mode and mounted my C9.25 OTA on it along with a Celestron f/6.3 focal reducer. Instead of eyepieces, I was using my MallinCam Xtreme and MFR-4 focal reducer. After a two star alignment on Sirius and Capella each night, I started looking at DSO's. The GoTo operations put most targets onto the small CCD sensor and once on target, the tracking was exceptional. I was amazed to find out that I could do 2 minute exposures on most targets without star trailing. For an Alt-Az, unguided mount, this is incredible. I really should have tried going longer than 2 minutes to see when field rotation started being noticed; but I was running out of the ability to lower the brightness on the monitor. With the stability and tracking ability in Alt-Az mode, I may use the EQ mode far less than originally anticipated.

Jack Huerkamp (Posted on 4/11/13)

I sent Brian Dernesch an update today after looking at the DVDs recorded on a larger monitor. Field rotation is obvious in the 2 minutes on the larger monitor while it was not seen on the 9" I was using while observing. With that said, the mount tracked well and if I had been set up in EQ mode, the field rotation seen in the Al/Az mounted videos would not have been there.

The next time out with the mount, I will try the EQ mount.

I am so glad that I returned the other dual mode mount that I had purchased that could not support more than a 6" SCT and got this mount. Its fit and finish is outstanding.

Jack Huerkamp

#5 johnpd

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 07:41 PM

1. The GPS is just an add-on module. If you have a cell phone and reception wherever you observe, then you would not need the extra module. You can quickly enter your position from the cell phone info.

2. They are not available in the U.S. You can order them from Canada but UPS will charge you about $100 to ship it across the border. You can get Orion's version in the U.S., the Atlas Pro AZ-EQ6-GT which should be the same. It is black instead of white.

3. I don't know about the belts. Someone commented here on that a few months ago and said it would not be a problem. The mount slews are very quiet with the belts.

4. Using the polar scope was a little difficult because of the reticle display it gives you. It is basically a small circle with crosshairs. It is difficult to determine where along the circle to position Polaris if it is not near the crosshairs. However, the latest firmware upgrade (v3.34) brought back the hour-angle of Polaris which allows you to use the RA setting circle to position Polaris more accurately.

5. I found the All-Star polar alignment did not work very well for me. It could be my issue. I am working basically in Alt-Az because I do a lot of public star parties where quick setup and alignment are needed. I may try EQ again when a new firmware update comes out that addresses the cord wrap issue. v3.34 mentions something about removing a feature regarding polar alignment. I am not sure exactly what this was referring to.

6. It is well built and well designed. The clutches are very accessible and large making them easy to use. The Altitude adjuster is also easy to use. Switching from EQ to Alt-Az is very easy.


JohnD

#6 Lurch

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 06:10 PM

Evidently this mount must be relatively new.

#7 johnpd

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 02:19 AM

It just became available late last year.

#8 Mike X.

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 02:56 AM

It is very new indeed.
I's based on the old and trusty NEQ6/Atlas on many aspects,which was a point in it's favor that made me purchase it, but i think it's on the market for no more than 6/7 months.

#9 frolinmod

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 02:28 PM

Thanks guys for reporting the cord wrap problem to Sky-Watcher. You've saved me the trouble. It's the only "problem" I've had with the mount so far and will be nice to have fixed.

By the way guys, the same GPS hocky puck that works with the rest of the EQ line works with the AZ-EQ6. So if you already have one, you don't need yet another one. Just re-use the one you already have. It only needs to be plugged in during initialization and can then be removed and used with another mount.

#10 HowardK

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 07:53 PM

Anyone else notice that the goto accuracy of this great mount when in alt az mode worsens as the object nears zenith?

Is this kind of normal for an alt az mount?
Object still in the FOV just to the upper edge

#11 frolinmod

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:26 PM

Make sure you're well balanced as the motors can't handle a major imbalance and the mount won't complain either, just act wonky.

#12 HowardK

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:16 AM

Finding it very difficult to get perfect balance in az
Use 2 scopes and to test have to take everything off and set up in eq mode and reattach scopes and test for balance in RA.....cant get it perfect all the way around in RA......perfect balance in alt however...

How about if i keep her in altaz mode and drop a tripod leg a couple inches...then loosen az clutch and see if it stays still?

#13 ManuelJ

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:29 AM

Finding it very difficult to get perfect balance in az
Use 2 scopes and to test have to take everything off and set up in eq mode and reattach scopes and test for balance in RA.....cant get it perfect all the way around in RA......perfect balance in alt however...

How about if i keep her in altaz mode and drop a tripod leg a couple inches...then loosen az clutch and see if it stays still?


It's hard or impossible to maintain balance in AZ. The best is to put the gear un EQ mode, and make some marks to help you the next time.

Although if you change an eyepiece, you will be out of balance.

Your tripod leg trick seems dangerous, don't you think? :-)

#14 HowardK

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:10 AM

Is it soooo critical for perfect balance in az?.....doesnt it help backlash if theres a bit of imbalance in the system?

#15 HowardK

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:32 AM

Noticed last night how important really good levelling is to help better goto accuracy

#16 biz

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:16 PM

Finding it very difficult to get perfect balance in az
Use 2 scopes and to test have to take everything off and set up in eq mode and reattach scopes and test for balance in RA.....cant get it perfect all the way around in RA......perfect balance in alt however...

How about if i keep her in altaz mode and drop a tripod leg a couple inches...then loosen az clutch and see if it stays still?


It's hard or impossible to maintain balance in AZ. The best is to put the gear un EQ mode, and make some marks to help you the next time.

Although if you change an eyepiece, you will be out of balance.

Your tripod leg trick seems dangerous, don't you think? :-)

Manuel.
The shorten one leg trick for alt/az RA balancing has been around for a long time is completely safe and works like a charm.. After you have the mount in Alt/Az position and you have the tube balanced fore and aft, just lift(shorten) one leg by no more than 2 inches and undo the relative clutch, gravity will pull the heavier side down, just apply weights until it doesn't. Then reposition the leg, job done. The mount will not fall over if that's what you are worried about.
cheers.
Graham.

#17 HowardK

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:25 PM

Hi Graham

Howard here

Man....I love this Az eq6 mount....much more better than the mt pro even with all your mods!

#18 Lurch

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:59 AM

Any suggestions/experience on White Skywatcher version vs black Orion version?

#19 frolinmod

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:54 AM

The black version gets quite hot in the sun during the day. You might want to get the white version if you'll be using the mount often during the daytime.

#20 johnpd

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:57 AM

Any suggestions/experience on White Skywatcher version vs black Orion version?


You would have to order the white version from Canada since it is not available in the U.S.

I did an outreach event Saturday evening with a Mallincam Xtreme attached to my C-8 mounted on my AZ-EQ6 in Az Mode. I was getting very good pointing after aligning with Sirius and Arcturus. I was using a computer, sitting on a table a few feet from the scope, to run the camera and view its output. I have replaced the hand controller cable with a standard 15 ft RJ45 network cable that allowed me to run the scope from the table as well. I was really happy with the way things worked. Those two stars seem to give the mount good pointing. When Sirius disappears and don't know what star the HC will give me. I have purchased an iPhone app (ALTitude AZimuth ALIGNment) which gives you better alignment stars. It gives you a pair of stars that have a line between them that passes close to your zenith. The further away the stars are from one another the better and it does not give stars that are too low in the sky like the Synscan HC sometimes does. I will be using the app in the future.

JohnD

#21 Lurch

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:25 PM

Lots of good information and insight. Hopefully in coming weeks, I will be able to relay some experience, since I just placed an order for one today, the white version from Canada. It was $210.00 to ship to Central Pa. I had seen during my research that it had a 5 year warranty. After I placed the order, the warranty was listed as 2 years.
Thanks much all.

#22 Lurch

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 08:28 PM

Is there a software program that will control this mount from a laptop? Just noticed there's no mention of any on the Skywatcher site, other than the Firmware.

#23 Skrenlin

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 10:01 PM

I think EQMOD was made for the synscan mounts.

#24 ManuelJ

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 06:17 AM

I have problems setting the mount in AZ. In EQ it's plug and play.

AZ: align on first star, slew to the second star and the mount does not point to it. If I point manually to the second star, obviously it doesn't work.

Same config than in EQ mode, tried to play with time, no luck. Encoders activated and deactivated.

Terrible experience!.

#25 johnpd

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 04:48 AM

I have problems setting the mount in AZ. In EQ it's plug and play.

AZ: align on first star, slew to the second star and the mount does not point to it. If I point manually to the second star, obviously it doesn't work.

Same config than in EQ mode, tried to play with time, no luck. Encoders activated and deactivated.

Terrible experience!.


Manuel,

1. What telescope are you using?

2. What firmware version do you have?

3. How is the telescope oriented when you start?

4. What is normally the first star you use? How are you going to the first star? Do you manually move it or use the hand controller to move it?

5. What is the 2nd star that the mount gives you? How far off is the 2nd star? Is it within the finderscope view?

JohnD






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