Jump to content


Photo

Smarteq pro first light report

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 andysea

andysea

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1607
  • Joined: 03 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Seattle, WA

Posted 11 September 2013 - 09:52 AM

A couple of weeks ago I decided to get the Ioptron Smarteq pro. There really aren't many choices in this class for a goto, highly portable mount that can be autoguided.
When I got the mount I thought it looked more like a toy than a precision instrument.

There were a few QA issues that had to be resolved:

One of the screws holding the polar scope light had come off and it was rattling inside the mount. Note to Ioptron: when you shake your new mount and it rattles as if it had a bunch of pennies inside, that is not a good first impression.
I had to open it up to recover and replace it.

There was considerable play in the RA gear. I then figured out a way to adjust the worm/gear mesh.

The polar scope was way off and the screws that hold the reticle were too short making adjustment impossible. I had to make a special trip to a specialty hardware store to get longer set screws.

Lastly, the pinouts on the manual that show how to build your own rj9 to rs232 cable were wrong.

The Ioptron Tech support was unable to provide me with the right pinouts so I figured it out on my own. I also feel that to the beginning AP enthusiasts all these issues might be daunting and provide frustration.

That being said, after a bit of tinkering the mount seemed to be ready for prime time so last night I decided to set it up for a test.
I loaded up the mount with my wide field setup consisting into a rig that supports a DSLR lens and a Robofocus motor that controls the lens helical focuser through a mini timing belt. With the 300mm lens and the QSI the setup was about 9~10lbs. Definitely at the upper end of the declared payload for the mount.
I was able to plate solve and do high precision pointing. And after that I was ready to go. I got a couple of 10 minute Ha subs and then, alas I had to call it a night....being a school night and everything.
The batteries also died but that's what I get for using AA's that are sold at 65 cent for a pack of four!

The mount actually performed really well. Here is the link to the PHD graph
http://www.flickr.co...sea/9726185608/

and here is one 10 minute sub at 300mm unprocessed.
http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/

The RMS oscillated between 0.9 to 1.6 arc seconds so it was well below the resolution of my system.
...I actually have the 300mm up for sale but seeing those round stars almost to the very edges makes me second guess my choice:) but that's a different story.


This coming weekend I am going to have a full imaging session, I hope the mount keeps performing well.

Andy

#2 pesa

pesa

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 57
  • Joined: 21 Oct 2011

Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:40 PM

impressive!
did you stop the lens down or was it at 4.0?
pelle

#3 Mkofski

Mkofski

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1547
  • Joined: 19 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA

Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:52 PM

Andy,

Well, the results look great... too bad you had so many QC problems to start with. That's a pretty big negative for someone that doesn't want to rebuild the mount befor use.

Mike

#4 andysea

andysea

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1607
  • Joined: 03 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Seattle, WA

Posted 11 September 2013 - 07:35 PM

The lens was fully open at f4.
Mike, you are right, I was kinda expecting that I had to tinker with it a little bit but I can see how that might be an issue for someone who has no experience taking things apart. I would gladly pay several times the cost of the smarteq pro for a high quality miniature equatorial goto mount. Unfortunately there are no alternates that I can think of. The Tak EM-11 is too big.

#5 Mkofski

Mkofski

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1547
  • Joined: 19 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA

Posted 11 September 2013 - 07:47 PM

The lens was fully open at f4.
Mike, you are right, I was kinda expecting that I had to tinker with it a little bit but I can see how that might be an issue for someone who has no experience taking things apart. I would gladly pay several times the cost of the smarteq pro for a high quality miniature equatorial goto mount. Unfortunately there are no alternates that I can think of. The Tak EM-11 is too big.


Well, there's a nitch that no one has addressed I guess. A $800 to $1,200 mount the size of the Smart EQ. The closest I know of would be iOptron's zEQ25. I ordered one of those just because of the light weight. I can leave a tripod at my brother in law's house in California and just put the mount in a suitcase. A little bigger than the Smart EQ, but still only 10 pounds.

#6 andysea

andysea

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1607
  • Joined: 03 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Seattle, WA

Posted 11 September 2013 - 08:01 PM

That's a possibility. I might trade up for one of those:)

#7 frapzilla

frapzilla

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 1
  • Joined: 21 Dec 2012

Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:46 PM

Random question, but what size screws did you pick up for the polar scope? These things are way too small for me to measure, haha.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics