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There's a new iEQ45 coming soon

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#1 Astronewb

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 11:44 PM

It's been leaked on the iOptron Yahoo Forum that a new iEQ45 has been developed. It will be called the iEq45 Pro and will have many improvements and internal re-engineering based on the CEM series.

It was just a matter of time. Externally it will look just like the current iEQ45, a purists delight.

Internally, the worm will be a larger diameter for greater stiffness and more precise tracking.

The RA and DEC worm wheels are larger for smoother and more precise tracking.

The best news, the servo motors have been replaced by stepper motors with a synchronous belt for zero backlash.
For the scientists, the steppers motors are listed as 1.8 degree/128 microstep types?

The max slew speed has been increased from 4 degrees per second to 5 degrees per second.

All the details can be viewed on the iOptron forum, and will probably be released for general viewing shortly.

The mount will increase in price about $50, so it looks like a win-win for everyone considering the improvements incorporated.

Initial rumors are that they will be available for retail sale sometime in July.

Clear skies...Paul

#2 Stelios

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 01:06 AM

Wonderful if it materializes successfully. A sub-$2,000 mount lighter than the Atlas that will allow me to do AP with a 15lb scope (around 21 lbs loaded) is my dream.

#3 Alfred Tan

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 01:24 AM

Hi Paul,

I have heard about the new iEQ45 from Kevin. Glad to see that it is coming on schedule. I am exploring the possibility of upgrading my iEQ45 :)

Alfred

#4 TONGKW

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 03:19 AM

A website in China has it that iOptron has just offered to carry out the upgrading of the existing version of the iEQ45 to the new version iOptron iEQ45 Pro by changing nearly all the internal parts of the mount, at about half the cost of a new mount.
It also has it that if this is done before 30th Sept, 2014, there is a 40% reduction in price. The cost, after reduction, shall come to RMB2995.
http://item.taobao.c...?id=39531984713

This link might also be of some interest, as it shows both the existing internal parts and the new internal parts of the iEQ45 mount.
http://www.astronomy...294681-1-1.html

K W TONG
C8+CG5 GT, TSA102+HEQ5 PRO, MK67+Voyager, NexStar 6SE, C5+Mizar K, WO ZS80FD+Kenko NES, Megrez 72FD+Kenko KDS, Mini Borg 50, PST

#5 Live_Steam_Mad

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 04:18 AM

Did they get rid of the spring loaded hinge mechanism for the worm / spur gear that caused major problems when trying to use an e.g. 6" F6.5 triplet refractor with long tube length? Other mounts like Losmandy G11 do not use the spring loaded backlash removal and thus have not nearly as much of a problem handling long tubes.

I initially misread the price issue. It's a pity that the price doesn't come down. It's rather overpriced IMHO. Mind you so is the G11 with GOTO facility.

Regards,

Alistair G.

#6 chboss

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 05:49 AM

Good question Alistair

As user of the original iEQ45 I have to say that the spring loaded worm blocks give a soft and unsteady feel when using the mount with long tubes such as my 6.1" f/9 refractor.
Well balanced it still works but does not feel very stable.

The new model might be good for new buyers but as someone that invested in the original mount you might feel like a beta tester... :smirk:

best regards
Chris

#7 GJJim

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 08:04 AM

I'm puzzled by the move from servo motors to steppers. Unless the stepper motors have added encoders (negating any cost savings) how will they get an equivalent feedback loop in the controller? Machine tool makers moved away from stepper drives long ago because servo motors have better torque and acceleration characteristics and the control loops are more accurate. Granted, a GEM spends most of its time moving at a very slow rate compared to a CNC machine, but the accuracies needed for position and velocity are similar.

#8 Midnight Dan

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 10:03 AM

This is one of the things I like about iOptron - they don't rest on their laurels and they keep improving things. This is the second significant upgrade to the mount design since it's introduction, which was not all that long ago. They seem to listen to customer feedback and incorporate their needs into the design, plus add engineering advances from their newer models. Gotta love it!

When I bought my iEQ45, it had just been introduced and I felt like I was taking a bit of a risk on a brand new design from a relatively new company. Now that I've had it for several years, I'm really happy with the purchase and am going to start saving up for my next mount - from iOptron. Depending on finances, it may be the newest version of the iEQ45, or I may decide to move up to the CEM60. But there's no question it will be an iOptron. Between excellent, innovative mount design, unbeatable customer service, and reasonable prices, I'm hooked!

-Dan

#9 rmollise

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 01:09 PM

I'm puzzled by the move from servo motors to steppers. Unless the stepper motors have added encoders (negating any cost savings) how will they get an equivalent feedback loop in the controller? Machine tool makers moved away from stepper drives long ago because servo motors have better torque and acceleration characteristics and the control loops are more accurate. Granted, a GEM spends most of its time moving at a very slow rate compared to a CNC machine, but the accuracies needed for position and velocity are similar.


Why do you need any kind of a feedback loop? The SynScan mounts do just fine with steppers and without any encoders. Steppers have their own advantages. They are robust when it comes to a jammed axis, and the goto they provide is every bit as accurate as that with servos/encoders. ;)

#10 SteveGR

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 02:41 PM

Interesting. I wonder how much better peak to peak performance will be after PEC compared to the current version. When I have finished saving my pennies, it looks like I will have yet another option. Decisions, Decisions. :confused:

#11 Fongky

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 10:42 AM

I'm from Malaysia. My less-than-a-year-old iEQ45GTN had a gear problem two months ago. The dealer sent it back to China for repair (iOptron products in this region are serviced by iOptron China). Then I learn about the option to upgrade to Pro. Since my mount is still with iOptron China, I decide to go for the upgrade. Hopefully, I can get my mount back before the next imaging party in the third week of July. I hope this is the right decision.

Clear skies,

Fongky

#12 Phillip Easton

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 10:07 PM

Wonder if there is a user installable version?

#13 dvb

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 12:19 AM

A website in China has it that iOptron has just offered to carry out the upgrading of the existing version of the iEQ45 to the new version iOptron iEQ45 Pro by changing nearly all the internal parts of the mount, at about half the cost of a new mount.
It also has it that if this is done before 30th Sept, 2014, there is a 40% reduction in price. The cost, after reduction, shall come to RMB2995.
http://item.taobao.c...?id=39531984713


K W TONG
C8+CG5 GT, TSA102+HEQ5 PRO, MK67+Voyager, NexStar 6SE, C5+Mizar K, WO ZS80FD+Kenko NES, Megrez 72FD+Kenko KDS, Mini Borg 50, PST


Now, that is interesting - I hope they'll make it available to the English-speaking market.

I wonder if the changes will bring its real carrying capacity close to its claimed 45lb.?


#14 Fongky

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 11:53 AM

Hi KW Tong,

I don't think they offer any DIY upgrade kit. I was told by my dealer that there is a long queue for upgrade. I'm trying to get them to commit a time-frame.

Fongky

#15 dvb

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 03:27 PM

I e-mailed iOptron asking if the upgrade to the iEQ45 would be offered in North America.

I got a prompt response from John advising that an upgrade would be offered in North America after the iEQ45 Pro is launched here.

He said the upgrade would not be feasible for DYI, and would have to be done by trained iOptron technicians.

His own advice was to wait for the upgrade until the mount needs repairs.

He said further information should be available in about a month (so, early August?)

#16 Fongky

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:08 PM

I've just found a video of iEQ45 Pro in action, demonstrating parking and slewing. Most noticeable is the beeps from the controller is louder than the sound of the motors. Here is the link http://v.youku.com/v...1OTEwNDE2.html.

Clear skies,

Fongky

#17 SteveGR

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 11:32 AM

A website in China has it that iOptron has just offered to carry out the upgrading of the existing version of the iEQ45 to the new version iOptron iEQ45 Pro by changing nearly all the internal parts of the mount, at about half the cost of a new mount.
It also has it that if this is done before 30th Sept, 2014, there is a 40% reduction in price. The cost, after reduction, shall come to RMB2995.
http://item.taobao.c...?id=39531984713


K W TONG
C8+CG5 GT, TSA102+HEQ5 PRO, MK67+Voyager, NexStar 6SE, C5+Mizar K, WO ZS80FD+Kenko NES, Megrez 72FD+Kenko KDS, Mini Borg 50, PST


Now, that is interesting - I hope they'll make it available to the English-speaking market.

I wonder if the changes will bring its real carrying capacity close to its claimed 45lb.?


What do you mean by "real carrying capacity"? What are you trying to put on it that you feel it should carry but does not?

#18 tjugo

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 11:56 AM

A website in China has it that iOptron has just offered to carry out the upgrading of the existing version of the iEQ45 to the new version iOptron iEQ45 Pro by changing nearly all the internal parts of the mount, at about half the cost of a new mount.
It also has it that if this is done before 30th Sept, 2014, there is a 40% reduction in price. The cost, after reduction, shall come to RMB2995.
http://item.taobao.c...?id=39531984713


K W TONG
C8+CG5 GT, TSA102+HEQ5 PRO, MK67+Voyager, NexStar 6SE, C5+Mizar K, WO ZS80FD+Kenko NES, Megrez 72FD+Kenko KDS, Mini Borg 50, PST


Now, that is interesting - I hope they'll make it available to the English-speaking market.

I wonder if the changes will bring its real carrying capacity close to its claimed 45lb.?


What do you mean by "real carrying capacity"? What are you trying to put on it that you feel it should carry but does not?


I have compared side by side my Atlas and a friend's iEQ45 with a C11. Despite the Atlas being rated max load of 40lbs (iEQ45 is rated 45lbs) the Atlas handled the C11 better.

Without an standardized method of getting the max load capacity the manufactures can state whatever they want. For this kind of mounts the max weight capacity is not related to performance, it is related to safety load limits of operation.

Cheers,

Jose

#19 cloudywest

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 12:28 PM

I've just found a video of iEQ45 Pro in action, demonstrating parking and slewing. Most noticeable is the beeps from the controller is louder than the sound of the motors. Here is the link http://v.youku.com/v...1OTEwNDE2.html.

Wow, the slew was so quiet! Almost nothing compared to the hand controller beep.

#20 Midnight Dan

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 12:38 PM

Without an standardized method of getting the max load capacity the manufactures can state whatever they want. For this kind of mounts the max weight capacity is not related to performance, it is related to safety load limits of operation.


I don't believe the capacity is based on safety limits. Rather, it seems to be based on the manufacturer's idea of what is acceptable performance for *visual* use. They don't know whether a buyer is planning on visual or AP, so they opt for the rating that makes the mount look better.

But your point is well taken that there is no standardization so you can't compare between manufacturers.
-Dan

#21 dvb

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 02:22 PM



Now, that is interesting - I hope they'll make it available to the English-speaking market.

I wonder if the changes will bring its real carrying capacity close to its claimed 45lb.?


What do you mean by "real carrying capacity"? What are you trying to put on it that you feel it should carry but does not?


I have an iEQ45 and an NEQ6. My scope is a 10" f/4.5, weighing <30 lb, but with a 48" tube. The NEQ6 handles the scope easily; the iEQ45 is really not up to the task.

I realize that tube length is a significant factor in carrying capacity. The iEQ45 may handle a short tube like an SCT at 45 lb., but it peters out well before that with a long tube, even if carefully balanced.

It would be nice if the iEQ45 Pro upgrade also upgraded the carrying capacity to handle longer tubes. A 48" tube isn't that unusual.

#22 jzeiders

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 03:33 PM

A major issue with most if not all mounts in the length of the tube assembly. A 5" f/9 APO may be wobbly where a 10" SCT might be fine.

The maximum weight a mount can physically support should not be confused with the load which it can hold steady while one focuses. If you overload any mount the life span of that mount will be affected negatively.
This is a combination of not only weight but tube length. Wind exacerbates the problem so plan accordingly.

Visual use is more forgiving than photography most of the time. Try high magnification planetary or double star viewing with slight breeze and a wobbly mount if you enjoy frustration.

The IEQ45 and Atlas are good mounts and function well for most users for both visual and AP. They are readily available, relatively inexpensive and work well if common sense is exercised in their use and load for most applications.

Great mounts perform extremely well much nearer or at their max rating but are vastly more expensive, e.g. the AP Mach 1. It is rated slightly higher max payload than the Atlas or IEQ45 (50#) but costs about $6,500 for just the equatorial head, not including a pier/tripod, counter weights, polar scope, etc. verses about $2k for a complete mounting system including tripod, weights, polar scope, etc.

Rule of thumb is 1/2 rated max for photography at f/5 and under. With longer focal ratios, not folded systems, try it first. A 6" f/9 triplet refractor that weighs 30# may overtax a relatively inexpensive consumer grade mount rated at 40-50#. Case in point my 6" f/9 APO was wobbly when trying to focus on an Atlas but fine on the Mach 1. The difference, about $4-5k in engineering, quality components, machining, and assembly.

The IEQ45 is a <$2k mount system that performs quite well for the cost and weight. I have found it to be a good value and performer for my uses. It seems about at the limit with a 30# 8" f/5 for photography. It does make a difference if you go around and tighten all the adjustments and attachment screws with a allen wrench rather than just finger tight for stability. Tube length is an issue and it does not work as well with my 7" f/6 Mak-Newt. which is about 35# with a 45" tube.

Jack

#23 Gary Z

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:40 PM

Wow, the slew sound is fairly quiet. Now how loud are the slews that the current IEQ45s make?

#24 ewave

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 11:21 PM

Is there a way to turn off the sound on the hand controller?

#25 jzeiders

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 12:41 AM

Quote:

"Is there a way to turn off the sound on the hand controller? "


Yes

Jack






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