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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions
      #5704125 - 02/27/13 07:48 PM

Since we have a post concerning this mount, and most of us do not read Chinese, I thought I'd kindle some curiosity for the 'about to buy' stargazers, or those about to move up from alt/az.


The ZEQ25GT actually has a payload of 27 pounds maximum. The mount has a 2.6 : 1.0 payload to mount ratio due to it's unique "Z" design. Much like the childrens wire toys that balance a long wire over a central fulcrum point and seem to balance and/or spin forever.

The mounts hardened fulcrum point is a pair of mount pins that distribute the weight to the tripod. This "Z" design enabled iOptron to reduce the mass of the mount head, which is a small ribbed casting.

In use under the limited stars I have, the go-to's have been spot on with just a one star alignment. The mount's PE captured with PHD and PecPrep one short session showed a PE in RA of just under 8 arc-seconds peak to peak and a DEC PE of under 2 arc-seconds.

The hand controller is the 8408, introduced with the Smart EQ series...except it had a lot more menu items, guide rates, PEC, several alignment routine choices, etc.

The polar scope is a dream...and it is usable ALL the time...it is pre aligned at the time of manufacture to the mount axis and due to the design of the mount is never blocked by the DEC shaft. Stub the tripod...just look thru the PS and adjust it back...done.

There will be a version without the polar scope for narcasistic users...but I guarantee the polar aligns wont be as good...

The tripod is 1.5 inches and is very sturdy...for the obsessive types, a 2" tripod is available.

I will try to post up a brief review of the mount as soon as possible, along with a YouTube tour of the not so little gem.

It does have a guide port...it does have PEC training...it does not have a heated hand controller, but it did work fine at 15 degrees fahrenheit. Any colder and I would have wrapped a chemical hand warmer around it just out of pity.

The base mount w/out polar scope will retail in the area of $799.00 The polar scope equipped model will retail between $849-900. So that puts it in head on competition with the Celestron AV mount.

iOptron will formally introduce the mount shortly, along with the determined US pricing and availability.

Stay tuned...

Paul


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Bluejay08
member


Reged: 09/29/09

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5704272 - 02/27/13 09:03 PM

It should be very stable with heavy payload.

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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Bluejay08]
      #5704283 - 02/27/13 09:12 PM

Quote:

It should be very stable with heavy payload.




Exactly..with a heavy payload, up to the designed payload of the mount and properly balanced, all the weight is finely
balanced over the mount's fulcrum point. The RA axis is on one side of the pin...the DEC axis is on the other and the controller boards are centered as well.

This is a really well thought out design, it's not perfect, but weight capacity-wise, it's great.

Cheers,

Paul


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5705210 - 02/28/13 12:06 PM

I posted up some images to my Flickr site of the ZEQ25, some initial views here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/astronewb2011/sets/72157632878588706/

Clear skies,

Paul


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psandelle
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5705313 - 02/28/13 12:58 PM

Paul - coolie-moolie!

On my iEQ30, the fine-tuning alt knobs/screws are a little rough on the ends (need to be rounded out for more accuracy), how are they on the ZEQ25?

Thanks,

Paul


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tjugo
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/06/07

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5705319 - 02/28/13 01:03 PM

From the OP
Quote:


DEC PE of under 2 arc-seconds.





Never seen anything like this before... Any idea?

Cheers,

Jose


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: psandelle]
      #5705392 - 02/28/13 01:48 PM

Quote:

Paul - coolie-moolie!

On my iEQ30, the fine-tuning alt knobs/screws are a little rough on the ends (need to be rounded out for more accuracy), how are they on the ZEQ25?

Thanks,

Paul




The azimuth adjustment screws are pretty smooth Paul..the bolts don't seem to have as much 'cup' as previous models, but I like to round the ends off regardless..results in much smoother movements.

Cheers,

Paul


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: tjugo]
      #5705404 - 02/28/13 01:56 PM

Quote:

From the OP
Quote:


DEC PE of under 2 arc-seconds.





Never seen anything like this before... Any idea?

Cheers,

Jose




Jose..the DEC periodic error is just a function that PecPrep offers, it's really not important unless your declination axis is extremely bad, so bad autoguiding can't keep it under control.

Those figures were the max periodic error, the average PE for RA was 3.5 arc-seconds, with only a single star alignment. The mount has a alignment routine available that is similar to "Alignmaster", no view of Polaris is necessary, the adjustments are carried out with a combination of the mount adjusters and the handcontroller slews.

Unfortunately, the sky has been so bad I haven't had a chance to test that procedure yet.

The mount has enough Polar Routines to make anyone happy. That, in combination with the excellent polar scope reticle and the iOptron Polar Position App from iTunes make it a serious contender.

Oh, and it's not a German Equatorial Mount (GEM)...it's a Chinese Equatorial Mount (CEM), an evolutionary design based on the "Z" configuration. I think iOptron has set a standard with this mount....

Best,

Paul


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psandelle
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5705426 - 02/28/13 02:10 PM

Paul - good to know. I round 'em, too, but was curious if they addressed that further at iOptron.

CEM? Now I gotta remember somethin' else....

Paul


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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5705482 - 02/28/13 02:47 PM

Wow! Very innovative design! How did you get one? Are you beta testing for them? Also, how much does the mount head weigh?

-Dan


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5705770 - 02/28/13 05:17 PM

Hi Dan, I got one several days ago, just to do some initial testing and tweaking for iOptron.

The mount weighs...10 pounds +/- a few ounces.

I'm going to start a new thread with links to YouTube videos..a picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is priceless..:)


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ourobouros2k2
sage


Reged: 11/10/11

Loc: okc area, oklahoma
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5705827 - 02/28/13 05:41 PM

Quote:

The mount has enough Polar Routines to make anyone happy. That, in combination with the excellent polar scope reticle and the iOptron Polar Position App from iTunes make it a serious contender.




Does it have something similar to the all star polar alignment routine? Just curious. This mount is intriguing


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tjugo
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/06/07

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5705888 - 02/28/13 06:08 PM

Quote:

Quote:

From the OP
Quote:


DEC PE of under 2 arc-seconds.





Never seen anything like this before... Any idea?

Cheers,

Jose




Jose..the DEC periodic error is just a function that PecPrep offers, it's really not important unless your declination axis is extremely bad, so bad autoguiding can't keep it under control.

Those figures were the max periodic error, the average PE for RA was 3.5 arc-seconds, with only a single star alignment. The mount has a alignment routine available that is similar to "Alignmaster", no view of Polaris is necessary, the adjustments are carried out with a combination of the mount adjusters and the handcontroller slews.

Unfortunately, the sky has been so bad I haven't had a chance to test that procedure yet.

The mount has enough Polar Routines to make anyone happy. That, in combination with the excellent polar scope reticle and the iOptron Polar Position App from iTunes make it a serious contender.

Oh, and it's not a German Equatorial Mount (GEM)...it's a Chinese Equatorial Mount (CEM), an evolutionary design based on the "Z" configuration. I think iOptron has set a standard with this mount....

Best,

Paul




Thanks Paul,

What was your setup when you measure the PE? This numbers are very good... My EM200 has a PE of 8 arcsec peak to peak, vey smooth tho.

Cheers,

Jose


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ourobouros2k2
sage


Reged: 11/10/11

Loc: okc area, oklahoma
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: tjugo]
      #5705934 - 02/28/13 06:35 PM

Sorry missed the part above about alignmaster like routine. Thanks! Wonder if similar routine will be available as an update for the smarteq?

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Footbag
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #5705943 - 02/28/13 06:39 PM

Nice review. What would the benefit of the Z-configuration be, though?

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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #5706018 - 02/28/13 07:17 PM

Quote:

Sorry missed the part above about alignmaster like routine. Thanks! Wonder if similar routine will be available as an update for the smarteq?




Yes same controller..firmware updates will be forthcoming soon, as soon as the initial results of the new routine are proofed out.

Best,

Paul


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Footbag]
      #5706022 - 02/28/13 07:19 PM

Quote:

Nice review. What would the benefit of the Z-configuration be, though?




I pondered about that when I saw the mount. Then I remembered the children's balancing toys..you know, the ones made out of wire, where you place the horiontal piece of long wire on a central fulcrum..and it balances on it and spins forever..??

Same concept..

Cheers,

Paul


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Bluejay08
member


Reged: 09/29/09

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5706282 - 02/28/13 10:00 PM

Thanks Paul! Would like to know how stable it is with 27 lbs payload.

Jay


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Bluejay08]
      #5707877 - 03/01/13 10:00 PM

Quote:

Thanks Paul! Would like to know how stable it is with 27 lbs payload.

Jay




Interesting question Jay, but I'd have to rig something up. I'm not going to hang the 35# AT10RC on it..that weighs in at 30+ pounds at the moment.

Maybe a Comet Hunter (16#) with a 90mm (8#) piggybacked??

If I can configure and load it up...I'll let you know.

Regards,

Paul


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Senator48
member


Reged: 03/12/12

Loc: New Jersey
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Astronewb]
      #5738921 - 03/17/13 03:35 PM

Really intrigued by the ZEQ25 now. Watched the videos from the other thread a few times and think that this would be a great mount for my new toy (AT111EDT APO Triplet) that just arrived on Friday. It's down to this and the Celestron AVX to replace my CG5.

The lighter weight of the ZEQ25 is a big draw since I have to set-up and tear down every session. I primarily stick to visual observing, but think the new iOptron mount will be fine for lunar and planetary imaging.

Edited by Senator48 (03/17/13 07:49 PM)


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