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. 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.
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!