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Ieq45 pro

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#1 calypsob

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 05:10 PM

Any guinae pigs testing the ieq45 pro yet? I've been hoping to hear about the results of the stepper motors.

#2 mikeyL

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:52 PM

I am also interested in any info that preliminary users of the mount might be able to provide, assuming anyone anywhere has their hands on one.

 

ML



#3 ScottAz

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 04:50 PM

There may be some beta users out there, but iOptron still has the mount's status listed as "On backorder. Expected arrival mid August 2014." Great looking mount!



#4 dvb

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 01:28 AM

I'm interested in the performance of the "Pro" to decide whether it is worth upgrading my existing iEQ45 to "Pro" level.

The stepper motors may be worth it. 



#5 calypsob

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 08:42 PM

Yep if it will give my zeq25 a run for its money I will give it a go. I don't think a cem60 would be a great investment for me right now because can only shoot once a week if I have good weather, however I need excellent performance from the mount. The zeq25 does well at the moment but I am having it repaired due to an incident back in May. 20minute exposures are a must, as well as round stars. Keep us posted if you test out an ieq45pro



#6 jzeiders

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 10:30 PM

I hope I am wrong. As an owner of a 3 year old IEQ45 I think expecting perfect stars for a 20 minute exposure may be a bit optimistic for this mount. that is more in line with a AP Mach one class mount. Unless you are looking at sub 500mm focal lengths, you may wish to wait and see what results people get with the real product with similar optics as yours as manufacturer claims are not always in agreement with results from production articles used by regular consumers.

 

I often see ~15 arc seconds of error over 4-5 minutes unguided with the IEQ45. My AP 900 gives me ~3-5 arc seconds over 10 minutes unguided. Both mounts are used in the field and not a fixed location. I align with the polar scope then do a quick drift to fine tune.

 

Jack



#7 calypsob

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 10:04 AM

I hope I am wrong. As an owner of a 3 year old IEQ45 I think expecting perfect stars for a 20 minute exposure may be a bit optimistic for this mount. that is more in line with a AP Mach one class mount. Unless you are looking at sub 500mm focal lengths, you may wish to wait and see what results people get with the real product with similar optics as yours as manufacturer claims are not always in agreement with results from production articles used by regular consumers.

 

I often see ~15 arc seconds of error over 4-5 minutes unguided with the IEQ45. My AP 900 gives me ~3-5 arc seconds over 10 minutes unguided. Both mounts are used in the field and not a fixed location. I align with the polar scope then do a quick drift to fine tune.

 

Jack

Hmm I think I will wait to see results. Round stars in 20 minutes are easy with the zeq25 and an oag at 1,600mm so I have high hopes for the new 45 pro



#8 nomosnow

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:04 AM

It looks like the new iEQ45 pro will have a permanently engaged worm drive just like original one . To me this is a good thing as there seems to be issues with the Cem 60  worm engagement method. :(



#9 cloudywest

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 05:00 PM

 

Hmm I think I will wait to see results. Round stars in 20 minutes are easy with the zeq25 and an oag at 1,600mm so I have high hopes for the new 45 pro

 

 

20 min guided or unguided? If guided, it is normal. If unguided, it is super.



#10 Nikolas234

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:30 PM

It looks like the new iEQ45 pro will have a permanently engaged worm drive just like original one . To me this is a good thing as there seems to be issues with the Cem 60  worm engagement method. :(

It will be interesting to see, the only draw back on the CEM60 is vibration from the adjusting screw and not noise from the gears, annoying but harmless. Does permanently engaged means no vibration / resonance? Looking forward to see them in action. Luc



#11 mikeyL

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 10:11 AM

Ok, so my iEQ45 Pro showed up yesterday. I wasn't able to use it under the stars last night but I can confirm a few things:

 

  • The mount still has the typical 'good weather dampening field' built in - rainy from afternoon all the way into the late evening after days of great weather  :lol:
  • Physically very similar, with small redesigns to covers, and a few connectors moved. The change of the serial port connector from a 9 pin D to a 4 pin telephone connector saves space but could be problematic as the cable used is less robust at the connector end. I may have to come up with some sort of a strain relief or other mod to make sure that is not a failure point going forward.
  • Slew sounds are very different and certainly quieter. More of a humming whine sound than a coffee grinder. Track is maybe not much quieter, but again sounds different.
  • Even the fresh from the factory new mount needed firmware upgrading of all the subsystems (HC, main board, RA, and DEC.) This was requireed before the new ASCOM 3.0 driver would work with the mount
  • New driver looks nice. I was able to connect 2 apps to the serial port at once without having to resort to the use of the Hub choices. The driver now also has a control panel that allows for some manual motion control from the computer as well as providing lots of status feedback on the mount itself.

I tried to take a few quick movies to show the slewing sound, but my audio levels were not right and the sound is too quiet on the movie. I am not an accomplished mount tester, but as I get this thing out under the stars I will try to pass on some more info if there is any interest. Coming from the previous iEQ45, my main focus with the upgrade was to improve my autoguiding performance. I image at a fairly wide focal length (568mm using a Powernewt 8") so that is what I will be using. I have a dark sky trip scheduled for the end of October so I hope to have this all checked out and performing well by then.

 

Best Regards,

 

ML


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#12 nomosnow

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 01:32 PM

Great to here about your new mount Mikey , please keep us informed as to how it compares to the older iEQ 45 . I also would like to upgrade my iEQ45 for the perceived guiding accuracy of the Pro . Fingers crossed that the pro will be better.

                 John



#13 Dakota1

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 10:32 PM

FYI got an E-Mail from John at iOPTRON and the parts to up grade an iEQ45 to the PRO model will not be in till end of October.

For my 8000D model it will cost $500.00 this is to modify the head only and I keep the same 8407 controller plus I pay frieght both ways. They have prices for different models of the iEQ45. Thanks

--------------------------

Bill



#14 rkayakr

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 07:04 AM

I received my upgraded iEQ45Pro yesterday. I must have gotten in on the first shipment. I choose to also upgrade the controller to the 8407+ for its added capabilities.



#15 Fukinagashi

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 10:37 AM

I'm curious to know if the upgrades (in particular stepper motors) are worth the price difference respect to the standard model.



#16 mikeyL

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 02:31 PM

I will be sure to post my experiences whenever I get it out under the sky, specifically as compared to my previous iEQ45 8000D model.

 

ML



#17 mikeyL

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 12:22 AM

Tried some indoor setup and testing tonight (as weather is still poor here.) Here are some updated impressions:

 

  • Mechanical setup is of course virtually identical to the previous version(s) of the mount.
  • Balancing
    • The somewhat stiff RA axis persists from the previous version of the mount. That makes balancing in that axis by feel alone a bit problematic. I am sure you can get it close but hard to be sure it is as close as it could be, and hard to set it 'weighted' one way or the other, at least for me.
    • DEC axis is as before, no problems there
    • I couldn't find the hand controller assisted balance routine. Not sure if I am brain dead or if it truly was removed. Given the RA axis balance situation this is unfortunate if it truly has been removed, as it it sis provide a little extra confidence that balance was OK.
  • GPS - not able to lock up in my basement, not a big surprise, so coordinates entered roughly (perhaps a little too roughly at first, see below ) by hand
  • Slewing
    • As stated before but even more obvious when the mount is loaded - very quiet slewing noises - I assume quite similar to the CEM60 from what I have read and observed on YouTube, which would make sense given the similar styles of motors. Very nice (just sounds more precise but I guess we'll see about that soon enough...)
    • There is a certain settling noise right at the end of a slew, hard to describe, and may be nothing. Kind of like a very quick 'rattle' for lack of a better term. With no one else's experiences to compare to as of yet can't say if that is normal or not. Lasts just a fraction of a second.
    • I DID have a experience early in the night where I was slewing to something that would have been close to the meridian and the mount stalled - giving that sort of howling noise characteristic of stepper motors stalling. Did it a few times in that particular area of the sky when on fastest slew rate. Eventually I discovered that my Stellarium coordinates (which I was using for control) and my hand controller coordinates didn't agree very well. Don't know then if the mount thought it was trying to slew somewhere bad or what exactly. Once I tweaked RA balance and fixed the coordinate problem I was unable to duplicate the problem, no matter where I tried to go. I also then had a good agreement between the mount and Stellarium as to which targets where still visible.
    • Slewing with hand controller worked fine as well, but then would sometimes spoof Stellarium into thinking that the slew had not finished, necessitating a restart of Stellarium/Stellarium Scope software. That always seemd to fix the problem and was a very quick fix. This never seemed to happen if the HC was not used to slew the mount. Of course, another software package might be fine as it is not clear if this is an iOptron problem or not.

 

So except for the early intermittent stalling issue the mount seemed to work flawlessly in the non-quantitative type tests that can be made inside. The overall load was an 8" Powernewt with a DSLR, a Orion guidescope with a QHY guide camera, and a Telrad. Should be well inside the supposed weight limits. Cables were bundled to minimize cable drag and did not provide any appreciable torque to the mount in any range of motion attempted that I could see.

 

At the risk of jinxing it, as of now some potential imaging weather (ignoring the moon phase) is coming up this weekend around here and I hope to get some actual time under the stars to see what kind of guiding I am now getting.

 

Clear Skies,

 

MIke L.

Longmont, CO



#18 mikeyL

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 12:28 AM

Oh one more possibly important thing - as far as I can tell, the Polar Scope Cap is still not sized correctly to avoid a potential mechanical issue if left on the mount while slewing. Not sure why they haven't fixed this issue. After having an issue on my previous mount I learned to never have this on the mount while it is running. In fact I took it off and left it off to make sure it couldn't bind up.

 

ML



#19 Midnight Dan

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 06:28 AM

 I couldn't find the hand controller assisted balance routine.

 

It's not near the bottom of the Menu page?  You have to scroll past the bottom of the initially visible menu screen.  That's where it is on my 8407 handset.  I'm planning on sending mine in for an upgrade, but I REALLY like the electronic balancing routine.  I'd hate to lose it by going to the 8407+ handset.

 

-Dan



#20 rkayakr

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 06:57 AM

Dan

 

  The balance routine is gone. It's not in the manual menu tree and not in the handset. The axes do turn more freely like a normal GEM.

 

   Another big change is the definition of zero position. In the iEQ45 & 8407 zero position is defined when you power on. In the iEQ45Pro & 8407+ zero is defined by a menu pick. So if you line the scope up and cycle the power switch like the iEQ45, you will get unexpected results.

 

    Bob



#21 mikeyL

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 09:43 AM

Dan,

 

I can confirm that the electronic balance routine is missing in the current iEQ45 Pro firmware. I'm hoping this is a temporary thing, not really sure why it was removed. The new Zero position functionality is nice once you figure it out. As Bob says, there are now 2 menu choices, one that sets it and one that slews to it. It then is able to store that position so that if the mount loses power it can still crudely 'remember' where it was. It will be interesting to see how accurately this works in the field and whether it really means that a power cycle will not necessitate as many issues as it did with the old firmware.

 

ML



#22 nomosnow

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 11:08 AM

Dan,

 

I can confirm that the electronic balance routine is missing in the current iEQ45 Pro firmware. I'm hoping this is a temporary thing, not really sure why it was removed. The new Zero position functionality is nice once you figure it out. As Bob says, there are now 2 menu choices, one that sets it and one that slews to it. It then is able to store that position so that if the mount loses power it can still crudely 'remember' where it was. It will be interesting to see how accurately this works in the field and whether it really means that a power cycle will not necessitate as many issues as it did with the old firmware.

 

ML

I think the old balance routine was based on current draw to the servo motors where as with stepper motors this may not be possible .



#23 mikeyL

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 11:12 AM

John,

 

Ahhhhh, good point. Perhaps you are right, that could make some sense. It is hard to judge, and it sounds like Bob may have a different impression with his new mount, but on my new Pro, the RA axis stiffness seems to be about the same as my previous 8000D non-Pro model, which is just a little too stiff to get an easy balance in that axis IMHO.

 

ML



#24 SteveGR

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 02:56 PM

Hopefully you won't have trouble getting it balanced, but it sounds like it will be more challenging for you.  :(



#25 Madhatter

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 03:45 PM

I have had mine for a month and it has been a real disappointment so far.  Just looking at the castings and doing the initial assembly had me wondering about the build quality (I used to work in Quality Control for a large manufacturing company), the detachable tripod tips split their rubber sheaths straight away and the cheap plastic washers used on the Az locking knobs likewise deform under only moderate pressure.  Regardless, I put it all together for a trial run indoors and was unable to get the mount head clamped up firmly enough to prevent vertical play after adjusting the latitude, this is beginning to sound like a rant but really that's not my intent, I'm simply relating my experience so far as objectively as I can.  Next up is mount the ota (10Kg) and I find that I cannot balance it with the two supplied counterweights, but even if the C/W bar was a little bit longer there is so much binding on the RA axis that finding true balance is pretty much impossible.  So with a lighter scope on board and balanced as best I can guesstimate I power it up and see how it runs, oh boy, groaning sounds from both axes during fast slews and also when doing goto's, not good.  Email to my supplier requesting support and 30 days on I'm still waiting for them to forward Ioptrons response.  In the meantime I notice that my HC and mount firmware is not the the latest version, really??  This is the first shipment and the firmware isn't the current version!  At this point I'm looking around trying to spot the hidden camera's, I mean, they must be filming for Candid Camera or perhaps Monty Pythons Flying Circus ( remember those?).  OK, so firmware updated and yes, great, the unhappy sounds are gone, well almost, Dec still has a bit of a grumble but it no longer sounds terminal.  It's clear tonight so time to check the tracking, RA actually seems to be quite good, an eyeball estimate on PHD2's graph looks to be about 10 to 12 arcsec total and reasonably smooth, nice.  Dec trace however is a different story with lots of lurches and jumps up to about 4 arcsec amplitude.  Perhaps autoguiding will calm things down a bit, and that folks is where I am as of this minute, still watching the guide graph bouncing around after an hour fiddling with guide settings and wondering whether or not to persevere with this or simply pack it all back up and send it back from whence it came.

 

Clear skies and better luck than mine

Mike H








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