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AZ-EQ6/Atlas Pro issue

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#26 Lee Jay

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 07:26 PM

I've got hand controller firmware 3.34 and motor controller firmware 2.05.


This is now resolved. I was incorrect with my motor controller firmware - it was 2.02. It showed as 2.02.05 and I tried to update it with the 2.05 motor controller firmware file and it wouldn't update. Turns out the older version of the MC firmware updater itself was not compatible with the 2.05 firmware. I updated the updater and successfully loaded MC firmware 2.05. It now shows as 2.05.05 in the hand controller.

#27 johnpd

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:14 AM

Can someone please confirm whether sky safari does work properly when the mount is in alt-az mode? I hear / read conflicting reports? I've seen a YouTube clip suggesting it does but this appeared to be an indoor test?

Thanks in advance


Check the Sky Safari (Southern Stars) Yahoo forum. When I first tried Sky Safari on my AZ-EQ6, the left arrow button was not functional making it impossible to center objects if I needed to move in that direction. I have not tried it again as I did not hear of any fix made. There were several other issues posted there recently. Another person ran into issues with the UP/DOWN arrows. Someone in the group offered a potential solution. No one has replied back to see if that worked.

JohnD


Thanks John.


I finally gave it another try. I have the Orion StarSeek not the SkyFi and have the SynScan v3.35 firmware on my AZ-EQ6 and SkySafari 3.8 on an iPad 3. Now everything is working including the directional buttons. This was an inside test. I will try outside "Super Moon" permitting.

JohnD

#28 johnpd

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 07:31 AM

OK I got outside and did some testing in spite of the "Super" Moon. I set up the mount in AZ Mode. I can confirm that the mount moves slightly off the object that the scope is on when first connecting SkySafari to the mount. This was mentioned by someone in the Southern Stars Yahoo Group. That was quickly fixed by clicking on the star and doing a GoTo (this changed later). But further on I ran into a strange problem which will probably be difficult to pin down.

Starting from my second alignment star I then used SkySafari to wander around the sky. Because of the Moon, I was pretty much limited to stars with some exceptions. First I went to Nunki in Sagittarius. Almost dead center. I then went to Arcturus which was low in the west. Again no problem. I then chose Mizar which was low in the northwest. When I looked in the eyepiece it was not there. When I checked the finder, Mizar was about a degree above where the scope was centered. When I looked at the SkySafari display, it actually showed the scope about one degree below where it should have been. I then tried Alkaid the star at the end of the Big Dipper's handle. Same problem. I then decided to use the hand controller to select Mizar and use its GoTo function. The scope positioned properly. I then went to Polaris using SkySafari and that worked properly. I then chose Kochar, the star at the other end of the Little Dipper. Again the scope was positioned about one degree below the star. I used the hand controller GoTo and that positioned the scope properly. I don't know what was going on. It seems that this issue was limited to a very narrow part of the sky.

I was about to shut down everything when I noticed that the RA (AZ) axis was not locked. Even so, it still worked pretty well. I ran into this before. This is caused by me forgetting to lock it after manually aligning to the first alignment star. (The AZ-EQ6 does not automatically slew to the first alignment star when in AZ Mode. You have to manually move the mount). Just to make sure I restarted everything, did another alignment (made sure I had the RA locked), and immediately ran into a problem when I connected SkySafari to the mount. Altair was again the second alignment star and the mount moved slightly off it when I made the connection. I tried selecting Altair in SkySafari and clicked Goto. It returned to the one degree off position. I used the hand controller to center it. It went around to a few objects and they worked ok. I tried Vega, and that had the one degree offset which I fixed with the hand controller. So now the problem had switched from the northwest part of the sky to the zenith. When I tried Mizar and Kochab, they now worked. Go figure.

JohnD

#29 Moromete

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 04:58 AM

Oh, that's so unfortunate because I have a CG5-GT mounted on a pier and I thought I could replace the CG5-GT head with the AZ-EQ6 head on the same pier but it seems that's not possible... :bawling:


Nope...sorry.


Uncle Rod, I did a little research on Google and according to user Stan in this link http://tech.groups.y...hreaded=1&am... he says " A CGEM will fit on a CG-5 tripod. However the center bolt is a different size.
The CG-5 uses a 10mm retaining bolt and the CGEM uses a 12mm bolt. I have 3
CG-5s and 2 CGEM mounts. I have altered one of my CG-5 tripods to work with the
CGEM. All that is required is to enlarge the hole for the center bolt. I use a
circlip to retain the smaller 10 mm cg-5 center bolt for use with the CG-5
mount."

From what I know AZ-EQ6, EQ6 and CGEM fit all on the same tripod without mods and if CGEM fits on CG5-GT tripod with a little enlarged center bolt hole (according to Stan), this means the AZ-EQ6 should fit the CG5-GT tripod with the same enlarged center bolt hole.



Are my assumptions correct?


Do the attached CGEM measurements match the ones for AZ-EQ6?

Can someone please take some measurements of AZ-EQ6/EQ6 tripod plate holes regarding their diameter and depth and post a picture with these measurements?

Attached Files



#30 rmollise

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:25 AM

I don't have a CGEM here to look at...maybe Mr. Ed will be along...

#31 Mike X.

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 03:01 AM

I'll check it out in a few weeks when i will have both my cg5 and AZeq6 together.Right now one is in Athens and one in Rome :lol:
From a first look the tripods looked virtually identical to me that's why i was convinced it fits.

#32 Moromete

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 05:05 AM

Ok, thx Mike. Thx Uncle Rod too for your support.

Mounts in Athens and Rome, uhmm...nice :jump:

I really hope I can put AZ-EQ6 on the CG5-GT pier I made. I think the central casting of AZ-EQ6 has a smaller diameter than CG5-GT's one but it could be longer. Also the central bolt I don't know if it's the same on both mount's.

#33 Moromete

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 05:23 AM

OK I got outside and did some testing in spite of the "Super" Moon. I set up the mount in AZ Mode. I can confirm that the mount moves slightly off the object that the scope is on when first connecting SkySafari to the mount. This was mentioned by someone in the Southern Stars Yahoo Group. That was quickly fixed by clicking on the star and doing a GoTo (this changed later). But further on I ran into a strange problem which will probably be difficult to pin down.

Starting from my second alignment star I then used SkySafari to wander around the sky. Because of the Moon, I was pretty much limited to stars with some exceptions. First I went to Nunki in Sagittarius. Almost dead center. I then went to Arcturus which was low in the west. Again no problem. I then chose Mizar which was low in the northwest. When I looked in the eyepiece it was not there. When I checked the finder, Mizar was about a degree above where the scope was centered. When I looked at the SkySafari display, it actually showed the scope about one degree below where it should have been. I then tried Alkaid the star at the end of the Big Dipper's handle. Same problem. I then decided to use the hand controller to select Mizar and use its GoTo function. The scope positioned properly. I then went to Polaris using SkySafari and that worked properly. I then chose Kochar, the star at the other end of the Little Dipper. Again the scope was positioned about one degree below the star. I used the hand controller GoTo and that positioned the scope properly. I don't know what was going on. It seems that this issue was limited to a very narrow part of the sky.

I was about to shut down everything when I noticed that the RA (AZ) axis was not locked. Even so, it still worked pretty well. I ran into this before. This is caused by me forgetting to lock it after manually aligning to the first alignment star. (The AZ-EQ6 does not automatically slew to the first alignment star when in AZ Mode. You have to manually move the mount). Just to make sure I restarted everything, did another alignment (made sure I had the RA locked), and immediately ran into a problem when I connected SkySafari to the mount. Altair was again the second alignment star and the mount moved slightly off it when I made the connection. I tried selecting Altair in SkySafari and clicked Goto. It returned to the one degree off position. I used the hand controller to center it. It went around to a few objects and they worked ok. I tried Vega, and that had the one degree offset which I fixed with the hand controller. So now the problem had switched from the northwest part of the sky to the zenith. When I tried Mizar and Kochab, they now worked. Go figure.

JohnD


John, please give me an opinnion regarding the following:

a)when you use the AZ-EQ6 in ALT-AZ mode and slew it manually to the first alignment star to center it in the finder scope, will the mount start tracking automatically to help you center the first star in telescope's eyepiece at high power after it was centered manually in the finder scope?

b) how good is GOTO accuracy of AZ-EQ6 in both EQ and Alt-Az modes compared to Celestron GEM mounts, like CG5-GT or CGEM, considering that I've read that in Eq mode with Skywatcher it's better to use just 2 alignment stars instead of 3?

c) have you opened the AZ-EQ6 to see how much confidence will give you (at eye inspection) the 2 belts regarding their durability/material quality during winters or hot summer days over the years? It would be great if you could post a close-up image with these 2 belts to let us see their quality.

d) in EQ mode are there any cord wrap problems/concerns with AZ-EQ6 or is any anti-cord wrap software feature implemented?

e) how do you prevent cord wrap prolems in Alt-Az mode if you use the AZ-EQ6 from inside during winter nights?

#34 johnpd

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 08:04 AM

John, please give me an opinnion regarding the following:

a)when you use the AZ-EQ6 in ALT-AZ mode and slew it manually to the first alignment star to center it in the finder scope, will the mount start tracking automatically to help you center the first star in telescope's eyepiece at high power after it was centered manually in the finder scope?

b) how good is GOTO accuracy of AZ-EQ6 in both EQ and Alt-Az modes compared to Celestron GEM mounts, like CG5-GT or CGEM, considering that I've read that in Eq mode with Skywatcher it's better to use just 2 alignment stars instead of 3?

c) have you opened the AZ-EQ6 to see how much confidence will give you (at eye inspection) the 2 belts regarding their durability/material quality during winters or hot summer days over the years? It would be great if you could post a close-up image with these 2 belts to let us see their quality.

d) in EQ mode are there any cord wrap problems/concerns with AZ-EQ6 or is any anti-cord wrap software feature implemented?

e) how do you prevent cord wrap prolems in Alt-Az mode if you use the AZ-EQ6 from inside during winter nights?


a) No. I does not really start tracking until you finish the second star. It can be a little tricky to align that first star as it does move a little.

NOTE: I am doing this with the Auxiliary Encoders off. I don't know if you were to start from a 0-Az 0-Alt position having those on would make a difference. I don't think it would.

b) In AZ Mode, it is very accurate with two alignment stars if you use the right stars for alignment. I use a little iPhone app called ALTitude/AZimuth/ALIGNment to give me excellent alignment stars. I had a little problem with EQ Mode, but that was probably me. Since I do a lot of public events, I find AZ Mode much easier and quicker to set up. The third alignment star is used to eliminate cone error.
I have worked with the CG-5 and CGE. If you get good polar alignment and use a number of calibration stars, they are usually very good.

c) I have not nor would I open the mount up. I have ten thumbs. :ooo: There have been a number of comments here about the belts in the drive saying they should not be an issue.

d) There is a serious cord-wrap issue in AZ Mode. Every once in a while it does appear to recognize that it needs to go in the opposite direction, but it does not do it often enough. You really have to watch it and leave enough slack in the both the power cord and the hand controller. Unfortunately the hand controller comes with an extremely short cable. I recommend you replace it with a standard RJ-45 Cat5e/Cat6 network cable like what is used to connect a computer to a modem or router. I don't recall if cord-wrap is an issue in EQ Mode. I don't think it is.

JohnD

#35 Moromete

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 11:54 AM


John, please give me an opinnion regarding the following:

a)when you use the AZ-EQ6 in ALT-AZ mode and slew it manually to the first alignment star to center it in the finder scope, will the mount start tracking automatically to help you center the first star in telescope's eyepiece at high power after it was centered manually in the finder scope?

b) how good is GOTO accuracy of AZ-EQ6 in both EQ and Alt-Az modes compared to Celestron GEM mounts, like CG5-GT or CGEM, considering that I've read that in Eq mode with Skywatcher it's better to use just 2 alignment stars instead of 3?

c) have you opened the AZ-EQ6 to see how much confidence will give you (at eye inspection) the 2 belts regarding their durability/material quality during winters or hot summer days over the years? It would be great if you could post a close-up image with these 2 belts to let us see their quality.

d) in EQ mode are there any cord wrap problems/concerns with AZ-EQ6 or is any anti-cord wrap software feature implemented?

e) how do you prevent cord wrap prolems in Alt-Az mode if you use the AZ-EQ6 from inside during winter nights?


a) No. I does not really start tracking until you finish the second star. It can be a little tricky to align that first star as it does move a little.

NOTE: I am doing this with the Auxiliary Encoders off. I don't know if you were to start from a 0-Az 0-Alt position having those on would make a difference. I don't think it would.

b) In AZ Mode, it is very accurate with two alignment stars if you use the right stars for alignment. I use a little iPhone app called ALTitude/AZimuth/ALIGNment to give me excellent alignment stars. I had a little problem with EQ Mode, but that was probably me. Since I do a lot of public events, I find AZ Mode much easier and quicker to set up. The third alignment star is used to eliminate cone error.
I have worked with the CG-5 and CGE. If you get good polar alignment and use a number of calibration stars, they are usually very good.

c) I have not nor would I open the mount up. I have ten thumbs. :ooo: There have been a number of comments here about the belts in the drive saying they should not be an issue.

d) There is a serious cord-wrap issue in AZ Mode. Every once in a while it does appear to recognize that it needs to go in the opposite direction, but it does not do it often enough. You really have to watch it and leave enough slack in the both the power cord and the hand controller. Unfortunately the hand controller comes with an extremely short cable. I recommend you replace it with a standard RJ-45 Cat5e/Cat6 network cable like what is used to connect a computer to a modem or router. I don't recall if cord-wrap is an issue in EQ Mode. I don't think it is.

JohnD


Thx John for providing such useful information for all AZ-EQ6 potential buyers.

It's quite unfortunate that tracking starts in Alt-Az mode only after finishing the procedure with the 2nd star. I find quite difficult to align the AZ-EQ6 in Alt-Az mode in this case due to the following scenario during winter nights especially: first move the mount manually to center the 1st alignment star in the Telrad finder than in a low power eyepiece, than I have to search for and replace the low power eyepiece with a high power one and during this time the star drifts outside the FOV and if I finally succed to find the star inside the FOV of the high power eyepiece, it will drift too fast and make centering difficult. Again, the frustrations with the 2nd alignment star due to lack of tracking.
So under these circumstances I think you have to be quite speedy during alignment in Alt-Az mode with AZ-EQ6 and I'll get quite nervous and frustrated during cold winter nights especially because of lack of auto tracking during alignment procedure.
Considering the the lack auto tracking after the alignment star is manually centered in the finderscope, I think I'll be forced to use more the EQ mode and Alt-Az mode will become quite useless to me.
I wonder if Celestron software in CPC scopes starts tracking automatically after the user centers the 1st alignment star in the finder scope.

By the way, with AZ-Eq6 in Alt-Az mode do you have to center the 2 alignment stars both in the finderscope and than in the eyepiece, like with Celestraon GEMs?

The lack of anti-cord wrap feature during Alt-Az mode is a serious problem and I think the AZ-EQ6 can't be used inside the house in winter in Alt-Az mode because of this. That's such a pitty.

By accurate, do you mean that AZ-Eq6 GOTOs in Alt-Az or EQ mode will put an object inside the FOV of an eyepiece (say at 100x), using only 2 alignment stars, like Celestron GEMs do after using 2+4 stars alignment method?

Is the AZ-EQ6 good enough for astrophoto with a C11 at F/6 and a DSLR if it's mounted on a pier?

How usefull do you find the 2 encoders considering that GOTO precision suffers when they are activated?

The 2 drive belts I think are quite easy to see if you take out the big lateral panel which is opposite to the ones which has the connectors but I understand your concerns considering the mount is new.
Have a look here to understand at what panel I'm refering to http://www.astroshop...her-azeq6gt.asp

Anyway I find the AZ-EQ6 very nice and if the software will be polished quickly than this mount can be a winner.

John, congrats for your new mount!

#36 johnpd

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:23 AM

Hi Moromete,

I have an old Celestron illuminated reticle finder on my C-8 and am now using a Stellarvue 23mm illuminated reticle eyepiece to center the alignment stars. It gives me about 1/2 degree FOV and works pretty well. I do check the finder first to see how close the star is. Once it is good in there, I use the 23mm to center the star. I was using this eyepiece to check a GoTo problem I have discovered which I will put in another post. The eyepiece gives me about 87x. Most of the objects I was looking for were stars and they were fairly close to the center of the eyepiece.

I can't tell you if the mount is good enough for astrophotography with a C-11. If a standard EQ6 works with a C-11, I would think that the AZ-EQ6 would also.

I usually have the auxiliary encoders shut off since the manual indicates that they could negatively impact pointing accuracy. I do enable them if I put a solar scope on the mount, because it makes aligning that scope easier.

I agree that the mount is excellently designed and a joy to work with.

JohnD

#37 Moromete

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:02 AM

In case of Alt-Az alignment with Az-EQ6 I understand the things as follows: you don't have to confirm alignment star centering both in findersope and eyepiece like with Celestron GEMs, but you only have to confirm alignment star centering in the eyepiece. Am I right?

Regarding the auxiliary encoders, they don't seem to me quite usefull besides solar pointing as I understand.

The Az-Eq6 is a nice mount but I'm trying to figure out how much usefull it is for astrophoto in EQ mode especially, compared to a EQ6 Pro and if it's worth the money difference in this case considering the weight carrying capacity and mount weight are quite similar.

Besides, I still have some concerns regarding the 2 rubber belt drives during a few years usage and lack of replacement belts.

I'm not sure I'll use the Alt-Az mode often because of the cord wrap problem and I find it more difficult to install a C11 OTA in this mode than in EQ mode.

Another design mistake I spotted when using 2 telescopes in Alt-Az mode is that you can't point them at the same object because the second scope lacks AZ adjustament posibility which is a shame and reduces the usefulness of 2 scopes in Alt-Az mode which seems somehow crippled because of this design mistake.

GOTOs precision of Az-EQ6 seem to be equal to EQ6 Pro from what I have read till now.
Speaking about GOTO accuracy/precision, I don't know if AZ-Eq6/EQ6 Pro GOTOs with 2-3 alignment stars are as good Celestron GEMs GOTOs after 2+4 stars. John, have you had the possibility to make such a comparison?

Reduced slewing noise seems to be an advantage to AZ-EQ6 and the stronger counter weight shaft.

The power cord attachement is another plus for AZ-EQ6 doesn't justify the higher price I think.


Again, judging from it's exterior apperance the AZ-EQ6 looks nicer than Eq6Pro without doubt.

#38 Moromete

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 01:04 AM

John, what do you say?

#39 Mike X.

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:28 AM

I can't imagine why it shouldn't be good in AP.
So far i have only run some autoguide tests,it is very responsive, (too much compared with my old mount)and vibrations dumpen in less than a second with 10kgs of load.
I never had a NEQ6 before though and i still need to field test it.

A friend of mine who bought the AZEQ6 a feww weeks ago managed to bring it under a nice sky recently and run a field test.He was using a NEQ6 for years.He was simply stunned by the new mount.
Here you can see his last photo with the AZEQ6 and the rest with the NEQ6:
http://www.astrophot...lae1/page1.html

#40 johnpd

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 04:57 AM

Hi Moromete,

Regarding confirming alignment stars, in AZ Mode you have to manually move the scope to the first alignment star so it gives you a prompt to that effect. When you confirm that, it requests that you align the star in the eyepiece. Then it gives you the second alignment star and slews to what ever one you select. You then align that in the eyepiece. Yes as I recall, the Celestrons ask you to align in the finder then the eyepiece in both cases. I don't remember what the AZ-EQ6 does in EQ Mode.

Regarding the belts, as I mentioned, there was quite a discussion about that. Someone mentioned how long the belts on autos last. They get a lot more use than the mount belts would.

I was able to put a Lunt LS152 solar scope on the mount in AZ Mode. That weighs slightly more that the C-11 and is much longer. Initially I did not think I could do it, but I was able to without too much trouble. It helps to have a dovetail like bar on the top to hold onto. I think someone else (Jack Huerkamp) has used a C-11 with the mount. I will see if he can comment.

Regarding the dual scope configuration, I agree that the lack of an AZ alignment on the secondary scope is a problem. If you were to contact Anthony at ADM Accessories, you might talk him into developing a replacement secondary dovetail or some attachment that would allow an AZ adjustment if it were possible.

No I have not tried a pointing comparison between a Celestron mount and the AZ-EQ6. I know my CGE was excellent after proper polar alignment, my CG-5 was so-so. The CGE was just too heavy to cart around.

JohnD

#41 HowardK

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:48 PM

To shim the second scope in az just buy some car feeler guages...find the one that shims the right amount by testing between the dovetail bar and saddle...once found leave there for good....or use a folded piece of aluminium foil.






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