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SpaceFreak131
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Reged: 10/23/12

Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery
      #5690486 - 02/20/13 09:45 AM

Hello guys

I have an Orion Atlas mount. The thing is absolutely beautiful, but I am running into a series problem, I can't supply it with enough power. I have a car jump starter that I use as my mobile power station. On the front it says it's capable of delivering 600 amps, but I'm assuming that's just for the very short duration that the car battery draws current.

The power station has a 12V cigarette port on the front. I have the necessary adapter to go from that to the 12V barrell plug on the Atlas mount. However, when at full slew, the motor occasionally stalls and doesn't move because it isn't getting enough power. I know this because the sound of the motor stalling happens in perfect conjunction with the power LED flickering off.

The guy I bought it from included an AC adapter capable of delivering 2.1 A. Even with that, it stalls some times. So I'm guessing that at full slew, the mount draws even more current, perhaps 2.5-3 A.

Does the Sirius mount draw less current? If it does, I can sell the Atlas mount for a nice profit and use those proceeds to go towards a Sirius.


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Raginar
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5690523 - 02/20/13 10:02 AM

It could be the battery is older and isn't capable of keeping up with the 2.5-3A during full slew.

Instead of selling your mount, maybe you should invest in a new battery? It'll be cheaper than dealing with the shipping et al related with it and you'll still have a good mount.


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ghataa
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Reged: 06/20/11

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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: Raginar]
      #5690537 - 02/20/13 10:07 AM

Most of those jump start batteries can't provide enough power. You need something like a Marine deep cycle battery to provide the necessary sustained power.

Good luck!

George


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SpaceFreak131
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: ghataa]
      #5690543 - 02/20/13 10:09 AM

The battery is only a few months old. Not even, it's only a little over 1 month. What if the AC adapter couldnt provide the power as well?

Edited by SpaceFreak131 (02/20/13 10:11 AM)


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WadeH237
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5690564 - 02/20/13 10:21 AM

I would agree with the other posters. You don't have a mount problem. You have a battery problem.

The two options for reliable power are either a real deep cycle battery, or a *regulated* power supply rated at 5 amps or more.

I use 35ah AGM batteries designed for wheelchairs when I run from a battery. For running off of A/C, I have a 12 amp regulated power supply. I sometimes run my laptop, camera, etc. from the power supply, so I needed something bigger than 5 amps.

Car jump start batteries and "wall wart" power supplies are both well known to be unreliable for this application.


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rmollise
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: ghataa]
      #5690571 - 02/20/13 10:26 AM

Quote:

Most of those jump start batteries can't provide enough power. You need something like a Marine deep cycle battery to provide the necessary sustained power.

Good luck!

George




Not the case at all. The jumpstart batteries can easily supply more than enough current for the Atlas. I've used a 17ah model I got from Wal-Mart nearly ten years ago and it works fine and reliably. Any fully charged 12-volt battery will provide sufficient current. The question is "how long?" A deep cycle marine battery is good for two reasons: higher amp-hour ratings; it will go for a longer time between charges, and a full discharge is less likely to damage it. HOWEVER, a charged 17ah, or even 8ah jump start battery will run the Atlas all night long.

OP: Is the red led on the mount flashing (blinking, not "flickering," which may indicate another sort of problem)? That indicates a low-power condition. If not, there's a possibility something else is wrong with the mount. I'd carefully check the cable, and make sure the battery is fully charged (for 12 hours). When does the motor stall? During slewing or tracking? During tracking the mount doesn't draw anywhere close to 2-amps...

Edited by rmollise (02/20/13 10:31 AM)


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ghataa
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Loc: Central, NJ
Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: rmollise]
      #5690626 - 02/20/13 10:54 AM

I haven't had any luck trying the Celestron power tank and a few jump start batteries from Auto stores so I have soured on the idea. Maybe the OP is running into similar bad luck.

Good to hear others have had better experiences though!

George


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SpaceFreak131
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: rmollise]
      #5690634 - 02/20/13 10:59 AM

Quote:

OP: Is the red led on the mount flashing (blinking, not "flickering," which may indicate another sort of problem)? That indicates a low-power condition. If not, there's a possibility something else is wrong with the mount. I'd carefully check the cable, and make sure the battery is fully charged (for 12 hours). When does the motor stall? During slewing or tracking? During tracking the mount doesn't draw anywhere close to 2-amps...




It's not blinking like an error code or anythings. It's specifically flickering as if it's barely getting enough juice. And when the LED completely goes out, the motor stalls, signifying that nothing is getting enough power.

The power meter on the battery says its nearly fully charged. The motor stalls during the full slewing, as if I told it to go to some object across the sky.

Edited by SpaceFreak131 (02/20/13 11:25 AM)


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Pat at home
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5690784 - 02/20/13 12:30 PM

Check the fit of the plug at the mount, you might have a slightly loose connection there that becomes intermittent when the mount is slewing. I had a couple of occurrences of what you describe so I put a little piece of velcro loops on the cable near the plug and affix it to a piece of velcro hooks on the mount. Haven't had that problem since.

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jgraham
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5690791 - 02/20/13 12:32 PM

I never had much luck powering my Atlas off of a jumpstart battery. I use an AC adapter instead. I'm sure some have had better luck as not everyone observes from their back yard near a power outlet.

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Cliff Hipsher
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5690870 - 02/20/13 01:13 PM

The mount is doing the same thing with two different power supplies. You have a problem with the mount. If the mount was drawing enough current to cause a low voltage condition AT THE BATTERY/POWER SUPPLY, you would smell and see magic blue smoke.

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Raginar
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: Cliff Hipsher]
      #5690898 - 02/20/13 01:27 PM

Well, he mentions it's an AC adapter, but doesn't state that it's a stock one. Perhaps it's not regulated or it isn't actually putting out 2.1A? The guy I bought my MI250 had a similar situation where the AC adapter had malfunctioned and wasn't actually pushing the 2A or what not required by the mount.

In addition, he might have a 'new' car start battery to him, but it doesn't take into account how long it was sitting on the store room floor.

I dunno, sounds like he needs to try a new regulated 12V power supply (preferrably rated higher than 2A) and give it a run.

Otherwise, ask the guy what the deal is. Maybe the AC plug isn't seating correctly (take a jewelry screw driver and spread the center pin slightly to make a good connection, had to do this with my CGEM a few times).

I have a hard time believing it's the mount.


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neptun2
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: Raginar]
      #5690953 - 02/20/13 01:49 PM

I have the heq5 pro (sirius) mount and never had problem to power it from skywatcher 17Ah power tank. Several times i also used generic chinese 220 to 12V adapter rated at 4 Amps also without problems. Strange that you see flickering of the power LED. I have seen 3 states of it. If it is constantly lit all is ok with power. If it is slowly blinking this indicates lowering voltage and that your battery is near end. If it is rapidly blinking this indicates very low voltage and you can expect problems. What you describe looks like loose connection between the power cable and the mount power socket.

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hcsceo
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: neptun2]
      #5690991 - 02/20/13 02:14 PM

Quote:

What you describe looks like loose connection between the power cable and the mount power socket.




+1 this would be my guess also. Could be a cold solder joint inside or an issue with the center post not making great contact or even dirty connectors inside the jack or on the cig lighter adapter. Like on a car it could be making a connection to run the low amp stuff but as soon as you try and load it up the poor connection keeps it from starting. Check both ends, the jack and the cig lighter side for corrosion and take the fuse out of the lighter adapter and make sure it isn't corroded or has loose ends. To be sure I'd use the cig lighter in your car as a test to eliminate the battery deal as a problem. If you car can start then it has enough power to slew that mount anywhere at any speed.


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astro_baby
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Reged: 06/17/08

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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: hcsceo]
      #5690998 - 02/20/13 02:19 PM

It coud also be a poor quality lead. The ones that come with the mont are rubbish and the ones that come with the powerpacks are worse. Wet string.

Get a decent quality power lead and I bet the problems go away.


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rmollise
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5691053 - 02/20/13 02:46 PM

If it's a long run of cable, yes, that could be a problem. The short length used for the Atlas, especiallly at the relatively modest current draw? The cable is good enough...it's the connectors that are usually the bummer.

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neptun2
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: rmollise]
      #5691276 - 02/20/13 04:34 PM

I have one very thin power cable which came with the power tank. It is not useful for any load over 3A but works fine for the heq5 pro. So just like uncle Rod i think that the connections are most probable problem.

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bogg
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: neptun2]
      #5691700 - 02/20/13 08:27 PM

I had a problem with the power supply to my CG5 mount. Ended up tracing it back to the jump start battery. The power supply cable from the power aux power point was not making proper contact. I tried fitting it better but the only thing that worked was a new connector on the power supply cable. The aux power points in some of the jump start batteries can be picky.

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EFT
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: bogg]
      #5692414 - 02/21/13 09:40 AM

If you are not using the stock power cable or an Orion AC adapter, you need to make sure that you have a 2.1mm plug and not a 2.5mm plug. The 2.5 will fit but will cause an intermittent connection. If you are using a 2.1mm, then I would try spreading the power pin in the socket to help make sure it is connecting well. I use the same power cord for all the mounts I work on and it is surprising how it works fine in some mounts and not in others. There is a lot of variation in this type of power socket. I pluged into a mount yesterday and power socket screwed up and flashed the mount on and off and put my hand controller into a program state that required me to reprogram it before I could use it again.

I would certainly suspect the power cable or the plug at this point. In addition, all jump-start batteries are not created equal and some people clearly have problems with some. A Sirius would probably not perform any better under these conditions.


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WillCarney
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: EFT]
      #5692816 - 02/21/13 01:55 PM

I was a little wary of getting one of those power tanks. I purchased a deep cycle marine battery and a ac-dc inverter. For my Atlas I use the Orion AC adapter and plug into the inverter which attaches to the marine battery. That is when I don't have access to AC.
The first thing I would do if I were you is to buy the Orion AC adapter or the auto-lighter cable directly from Orion. Both of these would solve your amp or fit issues. You have to have 12v at 2amp with the right plug for the Atlas. William


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SpaceFreak131
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: WillCarney]
      #5693572 - 02/21/13 09:09 PM

Hey guys, sorry for the late responses. Here's what I've tried so far to trouble shoot.

I figured maybe the car adapter cable I was using wasn't capable of carrying 2+ amps, so I cut the wires and soldered in 15 gauge speaker wire, and it still doesn't work properly. Then I tried a power supply capable of supplying 2.5 A. Using that, the thing didn't work properly at all. It would start slewing the RA axis, cut out after a few seconds, and the DEC axis never moved. I checked the current meter on it, and it wasn't delivering more than 1 amp, so I think that power supply is a piece of trash essentially. I am going to see if I can borrow a power supply that can do up to 60V and up to 5 A.


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EFT
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5693590 - 02/21/13 09:23 PM

Quote:

Hey guys, sorry for the late responses. Here's what I've tried so far to trouble shoot.

I figured maybe the car adapter cable I was using wasn't capable of carrying 2+ amps, so I cut the wires and soldered in 15 gauge speaker wire, and it still doesn't work properly. Then I tried a power supply capable of supplying 2.5 A. Using that, the thing didn't work properly at all. It would start slewing the RA axis, cut out after a few seconds, and the DEC axis never moved. I checked the current meter on it, and it wasn't delivering more than 1 amp, so I think that power supply is a piece of trash essentially. I am going to see if I can borrow a power supply that can do up to 60V and up to 5 A.




Just as long as you don't exceed about 13.5VDC that would be good. If you go to high on the voltage you will burn up the board. I think that 3A is the minimum for these mounts, 5A is better.


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SpaceFreak131
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: EFT]
      #5693610 - 02/21/13 09:35 PM

I recorded a video of whats been happening

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUN03C8og8c


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Raginar
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5693619 - 02/21/13 09:41 PM

Spacefreak,

I still think it's the AC adapter connector. Notice how it worked fine for a little bit and then died after a few minutes? It was after you were slewing. I think as it's moving it's losing it's 'grip'. Have you tried spreading the pin on the inside? Also, if you can try a good 12V regulated AC adapter that provides at least 3A like Ed is saying...

Anyways, mount 'sounds' good minus it losing power.


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EFT
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5693655 - 02/21/13 10:10 PM

Quote:

I recorded a video of whats been happening

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUN03C8og8c




Here's a simple test. Take a piece of electrical tape (or something else with a good grip) and tap the power cord to the mount so that it does not move in the power socket as the mount slews. A lot of people do this with a cable tie like you use for cable management under a desk. Try slewing with the cable tied down and see it if happens. If it doesn't, that will tell you that it is just the loose socket. I see that frequently with both Atlas and CGEM mounts.


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SpaceFreak131
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: EFT]
      #5693664 - 02/21/13 10:14 PM

I tried manually holding the cable in with a good amount of pressure, didn't help.

Like the people have been saying, its probably a battery thing. Each slew takes about 20 seconds. Those car jump starters are only made to pump out current for a second. I'm thinking that maybe it can't sustain 2.5 Amps continuously. When I get a more reliable, high amperage power supply I'll try again.

Edited by SpaceFreak131 (02/21/13 11:15 PM)


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SkipW
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5693788 - 02/21/13 11:44 PM

They're only designed to pump out the huge current necessary to start a car for a few seconds at a time. They'll pump out the small current needed to run a mount for hours and hours.

17 Amp-hours means, in principle, it can supply 1 Amp for 17 hours, 2 Amps for 8.5 hours, 17 Amps for 1 hour, 170 Amps for 1/10 hour, etc. Of course, it's not even close to that linear (and can't really deliver anywhere near 170 A at all), but that's the basic idea.

Jump start power packs work fine to power 12V telescope mounts in most cases. I'd suggest using an ohmmeter to measure the resistance of the cable assembly as a start. I would think it should measure less than one Ohm end-to-end for each conductor. The 25-foot spaghetti-thin DC cable that came with my CG-5 had several Ohms per conductor and didn't work worth a damn because as soon as you tried to draw, say, one Amp, about 10 Volts would be lost in the cable and the mount simply shut down because the voltage at its end of the cable was too low.


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Garry
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5693804 - 02/21/13 11:52 PM

The mount might have another problem other than the power supply.
If you are well balanced,then at 2:05min and after the grinding noise
could mean too tight a mesh. A tight mesh alone can contribute to a
flashing red led.

Also you can read voltage directly from the hand controller from Utilities,
Show Information.


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SpaceFreak131
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: Garry]
      #5694064 - 02/22/13 06:20 AM

The resistance is so small on the wire that I made, that my ohm meter doesn't even register it out to two decimal places.

What exactly is a tight mesh? Also, I've been checking the voltage in the handset, it usually says 11.7 to 11.9. Although if you check the voltage directly at the battery terminals, it says ~12.5 volts.


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RTLR 12
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5694073 - 02/22/13 06:35 AM

11.7 volts is not enough volts to run the mount. You have a voltage supply problem. Either the battery is no good, or not charged, or you have too much resitance in the power cord, or you have a bad connection. As most have tried to tell you here the problem is NOT with the mount. A good 12 volt power supply should supply 12.7 to 12.9 volts at the mount.

Stan


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SpaceFreak131
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: RTLR 12]
      #5694109 - 02/22/13 07:26 AM

I'm gonna check that out. I tested the unloaded voltage, which was ~12.5, but when I get a chance, I'm gonna throw a 1K resistor in, and see how the voltage behaves.

I'm also going to fully charge the battery, even though it's currently near 100% according to the meter on it.

I'm also going to see about borrowing another professional grade power supply. This time one that can supply the full amperage at 12V.


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RTLR 12
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5694138 - 02/22/13 07:55 AM

12.5 volts is only about 75% charge. 11.7v/11.9v is fully discharged. Measure the voltage when the battery has been charging after 5 minutes. If the voltage is close to the high 14v to the 15v range, the battery is no good. After charging the battery, let it sit for a few hours and then measure the voltage. 12.7 to 12.9 is a fully charged battery.

Stan


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FaronD
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5695706 - 02/22/13 09:49 PM

It seems like something is too tight. Just listen to the motor stalling (not gear clutches slipping) near the end of the video. That grinding/clicking sound is from the motor stalling not due to voltage but resistance to movement. However, this will cause the voltage to drop because it is over amping. I heard that sound a couple of times. Once the ota touched the mount and there was that grinding kind of noise that I hear in the video, only constant. I noticed it again when I tightened the gear mesh too much while making adjustments. Which axis was moving at the end of the video? I would definitely check for binding on that axis. If the problem was low voltage I don't think the motor would slip/stall, the slews would just slow down. Perhaps it could even be a motor bearing??

Faron


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SKYGZR
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: WillCarney]
      #5695736 - 02/22/13 10:04 PM

Quote:

I purchased a deep cycle marine battery and a ac-dc inverter. For my Atlas I use the Orion AC adapter and plug into the inverter which attaches to the marine battery
Quote:




The mount runs on 12V, you don't need an inverter, or the adapter. Attach directly to the battery. The inverter/12v adapter will draw down the battery way faster than just running the mount directly.

I use a 12V scooter battery..expensive, yet lighter than a full size deep cycle. The full size's are used with an inverter to power the laptops.

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SpaceFreak131
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SKYGZR]
      #5695800 - 02/22/13 10:42 PM

Faron, I noticed that the declination axis is the one with the problem. And like you, it runs well without the OTA on it. I have everything balanced also.

And I fully charged my battery. The power light no longer goes out, and the voltage according to the mount is 12.5V (unloaded battery voltage is 13.4V). I verified this with a voltmeter. Even at full speed slew, the voltage never dips below 12.5V.

What do you suggest I do? I'm not the most mechanically inclined person, so I would appreciate any help.

Edited by SpaceFreak131 (02/22/13 10:44 PM)


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SpaceFreak131
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5695896 - 02/22/13 11:46 PM

Nope, now it wont slew the dec axis under ANY load, telescope or not.

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EFT
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5695917 - 02/23/13 12:11 AM

I went back and watched the video again and I agree that it sounds like the stepper motor is skipping near the end of the slew. Is there a scope on the mount? I can't tell from the video. How well is the mount balanced? Can you balance the mount well or is the axis too stiff to balance?

I'm just trying to get a handle on exact what the problem is that you are having. It sounds like the power issue may be solved, but there is something else going on.


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SKYGZR
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Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: EFT]
      #5695997 - 02/23/13 02:40 AM

I've had "stalls" before on my mounts. the leading cause (that I've found) is that the motor(s) mounting screws (under the cover where the power/guide port plugs in), are overly tightened/misalinged.

One has to remove the four small screws that attach that cover to the mount, then using a long blade phillips head screw driver, loosen the motor mounting screws a bit, wobble the motor assembly up/down -side to side, and by feel, engage the gears "snug".

Once that's done, then "loosley" tighten the screws, "snug" but not overly tight.

If one is not mechanically inclined, this may be a challenge.


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Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SKYGZR]
      #5696063 - 02/23/13 04:52 AM

I don't have an Atlas, but to me from the first post in this topic it sounded like a motor stall.

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FaronD
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Reged: 03/25/10

Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: SpaceFreak131]
      #5696153 - 02/23/13 08:18 AM

The first thing I would try is loosening the collar that is at the base of the Dec. That's the same collar that the counterweight shaft lock is attached to. There are grub screws in there, loosen them and turn the collar CCwise a half a turn. If that doesn't help turn a little more. The problem could also be that the gear mesh is too tight as I mentioned earlier. There are tons of articles out there on the procedure. It's time to become mechanically inclined. Does the Dec swing freely with the clutches unlocked or does it seem really tight?


Faron




quote]Faron, I noticed that the declination axis is the one with the problem. And like you, it runs well without the OTA on it. I have everything balanced also.

And I fully charged my battery. The power light no longer goes out, and the voltage according to the mount is 12.5V (unloaded battery voltage is 13.4V). I verified this with a voltmeter. Even at full speed slew, the voltage never dips below 12.5V.

What do you suggest I do? I'm not the most mechanically inclined person, so I would appreciate any help.




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SpaceFreak131
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Reged: 10/23/12

Re: Atlas mount cant get enough power from battery new [Re: FaronD]
      #5696588 - 02/23/13 01:16 PM

I FIXED IT. Like Faron suggested, the retaining cap for the counterweight bar was too tight. I loosened it a bit. Then I did a torture test. I ran the declination axis for about a minute which is a full rotation or two and only got 1 or 2 clicks. I loosened it just a touch more, and it was completely normal. No clicks, ran it for another 2 rotations.

Then I loaded it down with my telescopes and counterweights, ran the telescope around a full declination spin, and worked perfectly.

Thank you all so much for all your help, I really, really appreciate it.


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