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iOptron smarteq pro troubles...

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#1 drspiv

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 08:42 PM

This is my first goto mount, and so I half expect that I'm doing something really dumb...

At first I thought I must have been putting the time or location in incorrectly because I'd do a nice clean polar align, get the scope as near to polaris as it would go (I don't have an adjustable saddle) then switch the mount off and then back on. Put it in align mode, select an object, and...well not even close. 15-20 degrees off.

I tried all sorts of things to correct this, ranging from slewing it back to that star as though that were a normal correction and committing it to the align, to offsetting the hours on the control until the first star came up kinda sorta close but not really (it is off in both directions).

Tried upgrading the firmware on the HC. Tried running it off a 12V adapter directly. Tried commanding the slew from a computer rather than the HC. In every case it corrected nothing. After every attempt the next place I'd slew was way, way off from target.

I thought I'd try and outsmart it a little and see if I could determine something: I told it to slew to an object that was due east and near the horizon: points SE. Slew to an object due west, it goes to SW. This seems like it isn't related to my settings...but...?

I'm all out of ideas. What am I doing wrong? Do I have a faulty mount?

#2 Maverick199

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:15 AM

Have you entered all your co-ordinates and time correctly? There is that UTC + / - ...so many minutes depending on your location. I don't have the Smartstar but basing this on ZEQ25 as both utilize same controllers. I know from experience I had a similar issue with CG-5 and the culprit was a mere 30 minutes due to my zone.

#3 Dan Finnerty

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 03:58 PM

15 degrees in Right Ascension would correspond to one hour of time. Are you seeing a RA error, a Dec error or some of both?

Also, the first point in alignment is always the farthest off. If somehow you are not pointing as accurately as you think to the pole, this initial index error can be significant. Once you have aligned the first star, the index error should be mostly eliminated and subsequent gotos will be much more accurate for alignment purposes.

#4 drspiv

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 06:37 PM

After some messing around I've learned that the optical sensors on the back of the motors are terribly inaccurate. They have to be positioned just perfectly (doesn't always happen from the factory) and so mine were not.

For future readers of this thread: if you suspect something is up tell the mount to go + or - 6 hours in RA and then back, and then 90 degrees in DEC and go back. If they aren't going 90 degrees from zero, and or they don't come back to where they started, something is wrong.

#5 Astronewb

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 06:57 AM

Hmmnn, just for giggles, check your time/date in the hand controller when starting up the mount.

It wouldn't be the first time the HC button battery has gone belly up. When it does, your mount time and date will default to 2001 or some other date. If you don't notice, your Polaris position will never be correct, and your slews won't be either.

I have replaced 2 button batteries, one on a Smart EQ Pro, and one on the ZEQ25 because of this. Both within 1 month of receiving them new. A good quality replacement battery lasts almost forever compared to what the mounts come equipped with.

Just for info,

Paul

#6 drspiv

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 05:32 PM

Yup, no problems with the time or date, unless what the hand controller displays isn't what it's using. More importantly, it isn't consistent in movement. Going from A to B and back to A results in something near kinda but not actually at A.

#7 lakeorion

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 11:00 AM

Mine did that too. Putz around trying different points, then give up and go to 'home' and it ended up 20° off in Dec. I sent it back in and they replaced the Dec motor.

It's been too cloudy or I've been too busy to use it much lately. But it definitely hasn't been a painless learning experience for me either.

#8 Bernard Cew

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 09:16 PM

Hi,

I just got my own SmartEQ a couple of days ago. Just wondering if you set daylight saving to Y when doing the setup of date, time and location? The default is N.

Best regards.

#9 Mkofski

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 09:21 PM

Hi,

I just got my own SmartEQ a couple of days ago. Just wondering if you set daylight saving to Y when doing the setup of date, time and location? The default is N.

Best regards.


While you are on daylight savings time, answer Yes

#10 andysea

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 10:49 PM

Paul,
I am contemplating getting the SmartEq Pro for wide field photography with camera lenses. At the current price it looks like a no brainer. My Skymemo is 3x the cost and it doesn't even have a dec motor, let alone goto.
I have seen your posts in the past, would you recommend this mount for that?
Thanks

Andy

#11 Astronewb

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 09:44 AM

Paul,
I am contemplating getting the SmartEq Pro for wide field photography with camera lenses. At the current price it looks like a no brainer. My Skymemo is 3x the cost and it doesn't even have a dec motor, let alone goto.
I have seen your posts in the past, would you recommend this mount for that?
Thanks

Andy


That would be an excellent choice Andy. You would only need a Vixen dovetail to screw to the camera.

In addition, if you decide to do some imaging with up to about a 70mm ota, it will handle that also?

A user, David Wood has some awesome images taken with his WO66mm equipped with a SBIG self guiding CCD. He actually took a one hour exposure in dark sky that is amazing.

Clear skies,

Paul

#12 andysea

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 03:50 PM

Thanks Paul,
I already have a camera mount that I just need to complete with a robofocus motor. The entire thing, including my camera should come up to about 6~7 lbs so well within the stated payload.
Do you happen to have a link to David's images? I would like to see them.

Thanks!

Andy

#13 Bernard Cew

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 08:29 AM

What the mount is capable of, from a previous thread:

http://www.cloudynig.../Number/5979404

Made me pull the trigger for my Smarteq Pro.

Cheers

Bernard

#14 andysea

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 10:12 AM

Ahh thanks Bernard. You would think i'd know how to use the search function by now!!

Andy

#15 Astronewb

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:20 AM

Ahh thanks Bernard. You would think i'd know how to use the search function by now!!

Andy


Just in case you have a problem viewing that thread, here's a singe 10 minute image taken by David:

Posted Image
Dave Woods M42 by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

Note that he is using a SBIG with a built in guide chip, the best combo for this result.

Clear skies,

Paul

#16 andysea

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 02:06 PM

That's an excellent result. I don't have a self guiding CCD but the QSI has a built in guide port. I think I would get similar results, the guiding should be just as accurate....I think.






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