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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: DesertCrawler]
      #6246492 - 12/11/13 08:15 AM

Quote:

ARGGGH! Just got my ZEQ25, and keep getting the DEC overcurrent error no matter what I do.




Mike, try this. With no ota, no counterweights on the mount.

Select slew speed '2' and attempt to slew for 60-120 seconds in either or both directions. If that's successful, then do the same at slew speed '5' or above for the same duration.

That should work to polarize all the motor segments in the encoder motor, if not, it's time to wait for iOptron's fix.

Oh, make sure when you do it, that the tension screw is backed out 1 or 2 turns.

Cheers...Paul


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nwcs
super member


Reged: 11/12/13

Loc: Tennessee
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: DesertCrawler]
      #6246592 - 12/11/13 09:15 AM

Finally had a chance to use my ZEQ last night. Worked great! polar reticule lit up, alignment was OK (more my fault than anything else), 1 star alignment was just fine. Put me very close except for Andromeda. For some reason every time I goto M31 it puts me at the constellation and I have to try to hunt for the galaxy.

It was super cold last night, 27 degrees F with a light wind so I only stayed outside for 2 hours. It was just too difficult and my poor wife was freezing. But I'm happy with the ZEQ.

Found my inexpensive 102 achromat just isn't good enough for pictures, though. So now on the hunt for something better.


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Michael Miles
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/11/05

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Michael Miles]
      #6247573 - 12/11/13 05:57 PM

More bad news -

1) The tensioner on the DEC axis has extremely high pressure - even when the tension screw is backed almost all the way out. I had originally backed off 2 turns as recommended. Could this have caused the motor problem?

2) Then tensioner on the RA axis is extremely loose, and the RA worm skips off the gear even when the screw is turned almost all the way in.

3) When I tried iOptron's suggestion of doing the 1X slew on the DEC axis with the gear released, I first slewed the RA axis, and the motor started making the "fax machine" sound I've read about in the cloudynight forums after it finished slewing for several more seconds.

I'm sending the mount back to iOptron. They were very quick to reply by email, and appear to be accommodating, but I'm really getting concerned with the overall effects of the obviously horrible manufacturing QC on the quality of these mounts. This many issues in one mount implies little or no QC along the process, and that further implies that almost all mounts will have some sort of QC issue - maybe burried deep in the mount where normal maintenance can't get to it without totally tearing into the mount. I hope I'm wrong.

Michael


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Michael Miles]
      #6248107 - 12/11/13 11:29 PM

Quote:

1) The tensioner on the DEC axis has extremely high pressure - even when the tension screw is backed almost all the way out. I had originally backed off 2 turns as recommended. Could this have caused the motor problem?




I think so Michael, there are only two fault messages that display in RA or DEC on the hand controller.

A 'Connection' or a 'Overcurrent' message.

A connection message means just that, a cable isn't plugged in, or has a fault in the cable wiring, usually an open circuit.

A overcurrent message is displayed when the mount detects too much current draw in an axis. This can be caused by mechanical binding, excessive tension on the worm, or a severe out of balance condition.

It sounds like your mount has a couple of issues and definitely missed basic QC measures. There is nothing wrong with the engineering or manufacturing of the mounts.

I think the problem is with the assembly personnel, and lack of proper supervision and quality control procedures?

I can't quite wrap my head around why that should be an issue, since iOptron's main business is the manufacture of "photonic materials and components for telecommunication and instrumentation applications."

http://www.bostonati.com/products.html

The QC in that area would have to be excellent in order for a company to prosper.

Anyway, I'm glad you're getting it sorted out with a replacement and hoping your second time around will be a much better experience...:)

Best...Paul


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Michael Miles
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/11/05

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6248147 - 12/12/13 12:00 AM

Thanks for your input Paul. I decided to get this mount partially based on your posts and videos. I have been watching iOptron since the cube, and it seems like their quality and offerings have improved. I'm hoping I just got a lemon and the next citrus will be more tasty.

Fingers and toes crossed,

Michael


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geminijk
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/03/08

Loc: TN
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Michael Miles]
      #6248283 - 12/12/13 02:39 AM

I actually sent my ZEQ25 back for over current and lack of finding things in Goto. Also had issue that GPS wouldn't updated. Lemon. Haven't had the courage to pull the trigger on another mount, trying to keep the CG5 happy. The mount seemed, well "fragile" IMHO.

John


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Craig L
sage


Reged: 05/10/03

Loc: London, Ontario, Canada
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: geminijk]
      #6249674 - 12/12/13 06:37 PM

Related...what happened to Paul's thread regarding his videos on tweaking and optimizing the mount? I can't seem to find it.

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Michael Miles
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/11/05

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: geminijk]
      #6249877 - 12/12/13 08:49 PM

Quote:

... The mount seemed, well "fragile" IMHO.

John




Yea John, I was wondering the same thing. I was actually thinking about getting an IEQ45 as an alternative to the Celestron CGEM when they were on sale in the fall since they seem to be past the low end cheaps.

Still may end up doing that (after loosing money and time on the ZEQ25).

Michael


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Craig L]
      #6250090 - 12/12/13 11:21 PM

Quote:

Related...what happened to Paul's thread regarding his videos on tweaking and optimizing the mount? I can't seem to find it.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Cjqs4iDW1c < Part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkXnuGQNYS8 < Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejlnH58RR0w < Part 3

Good luck and have fun..Paul


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rkayakr
sage
*****

Reged: 10/27/10

Loc: Northeast Ohio
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6250442 - 12/13/13 08:37 AM

I have experienced the iEQ45 also giving a "connection error" if there is a slight over voltage from the power source. Although they spec power to 15 volts, I consistently get connection error messages at 14. Switch power supply to 13.8 and the messages go away.

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Waduino
sage


Reged: 10/24/08

Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: rkayakr]
      #6253545 - 12/14/13 10:13 PM

I don't know what to say. I've patiently read all 47 pages of this thread. The ZEQ25 is an interesting design but reliability is poor. I have an early MiniTower and had to work through several issues with it before it worked well, replacing boards and motors. Long story short, I don't really want to go through the issues of debugging a mount even though tech support at iOptron is extremely good. I want a reliable mount for relatively wide field imaging, and this looked promising.
Wad.


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boandpokey
sage
*****

Reged: 07/25/13

Loc: Auburndale, Fl
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Waduino]
      #6254636 - 12/15/13 02:58 PM

I have one Wad. Im a beginner to more advanced equipment like a thousand dollar plus mount is. And luckily I haven't had to add springs to tune, or tape to eliminate back talk, But my LED on the polar scope doesn't work. never did from the day I got it. Ioptron said to "bend the prongs" a little. I don't like that. Or all these seemingly minor issues that are having to be maintained. I don't believe that a new mount out of the box should need to adjusted and worked on so much by the purchaser. I also just had new Battery Counter weight short out while charging. luckily I was home, but the smell is still in my office and I scared the trust right out of my girlfriend when it comes to my gadgets.. there has been talk of quality control issues and inexperienced hands on this equipment. But frankly that Ioptrons issue. not the purchaser..Ioptron is going to replace the battery but I have to pay the shipping. itll be at least 20.00 Every new piece of equipment has some bugs to work out or minor learning issues. But "bend the prongs"?? add washers?? Put tape in motor housing? we as buyers should not have to do all this to an expensive item.. Ioptron has been great and always there. and I don't mean to bash but it is what it is

Edited by boandpokey (12/15/13 05:42 PM)


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iandixo
newbie


Reged: 12/14/13

Loc: NSW, Australia
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: boandpokey]
      #6257493 - 12/17/13 03:36 AM

has anyone here tried using the ZEQ25 with INDI Library .. I was checking and I saw that the 8406 and 8407 HC are listed in the INDI database, but the 8408 is not listed. I wanted to see if anyone else has tried it as I am planing on installing Distro Astro on my laptop and using Ekos.

Thanks


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nine44
sage
*****

Reged: 01/19/13

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: iandixo]
      #6264334 - 12/20/13 07:19 PM

Paul--thank you so much for the videos on YouTube. I just tuned my RA axis, and the result is MUCH better. Where did you get your tape with markings for your home position? Also--have you had any more experience with the crosstalk issue? I taped mine up as you demonstrate, but the fax machine sound is still there big time. It's definitely coming from the RA motor housing and not dec.

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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: nine44]
      #6264396 - 12/20/13 08:14 PM

Quote:

Paul--thank you so much for the videos on YouTube. I just tuned my RA axis, and the result is MUCH better. Where did you get your tape with markings for your home position? Also--have you had any more experience with the crosstalk issue? I taped mine up as you demonstrate, but the fax machine sound is still there big time. It's definitely coming from the RA motor housing and not dec.




Hi, my pleasure, glad it worked for you.

As for the tape, I just picked up a blister pack of small labels, 1/2" x 3/4" at a local store. As it turns out, 1/2' wide cellophane tape fits over it perfectly if you want to weatherproof the label too.

I just apply the label over the joints, and cut it at the joint with a razor knife (draw a line on the label before applying it). It's part of my 'Zero Procedure' pdf for the ZEQ25 mount.

Here's a link to the Pdf: http://sdrv.ms/1bgRwH1

As far as the fax machine noise, it's always going to be there at some point, but it really gets annoying if it's constant. I modified my encoder motors to almost totally eliminate it, but it involves pre-loading the encoder shaft with a miniature conical spring and setting up the encoder wheel to minimum clearances. In the course of a night's imaging, I might hear the chatter once or twice, for a second or two, that's it.

Hope the Pdf helps, enjoy and keep looking up,

Paul


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davebl
super member


Reged: 09/09/07

Loc: Oregon
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: nine44]
      #6264528 - 12/20/13 09:48 PM

Quote:

Where did you get your tape with markings for your home position?




A nice option is automotive pin stripe tape. It comes in different widths and colors, is cheap and a roll will last you and your friends a lifetime. Any auto parts store will have it. And it's made to be installed on the outside of cars in all kinds of weather, so it should last forever.

Dave


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Seldom
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/05/12

Loc: N of Cedar City Light Dome
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: davebl]
      #6265246 - 12/21/13 12:55 PM

Paul, regarding your Zero Procedure PDF, I tried leveling the spreader tray and the mount bubble, but they don't agree. (Probably a discrepancy in the angles of the legs puts the plane of the tray and the plane of the mount base out of parallel.) So I marked the Zero Position indices using the mount bubble as a level.

I assume the bull's eye level on the mount is more accurate, but it's pretty inconvenient. It's small and the RA drive cover blocks a direct view, so there's a bit of parallax. Is there any way to level the spreader tray to agree with the bull's eye? For that matter, is level important to anything other than balancing the mount and setting an approximate angle to find Polaris? It seems like level will get modified a little during a Polar Scope alignment.

New to this equatorial business. Altaz was so much simpler.


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Seldom]
      #6265824 - 12/21/13 06:20 PM

Quote:

Paul, regarding your Zero Procedure PDF, I tried leveling the spreader tray and the mount bubble, but they don't agree.




That's correct, and unless you go to some trouble to modify the spreader tray, they never will.

Since I carry the mount and tripod out as one unit, and never move the spreader, it's just easier for me to use the simple T level on the spreader tray. The mount axes are leveled to the T level.

It doesn't matter which you use, as long as you square the RA and DEC to the bubble used. What you're looking for is repeatability during setup. Having the RA and DEC square to the mount level helps with alignments and go-tos. Taking out as much cone error between the ota and mount helps even more.

The accuracy of the level is not that critical, ensuring that everything is square to the reference level is what is important.

The little bubble level on the mount base is a bit tough to observe, since you have to look from the side, and the back of the mount to center the bubble.

The basic level will never get modified unless you stub a tripod foot during the night accidentally..:) The mount will compensate for inaccuracy in level during the Star Alignment procedure.

You should be fine.

Happy Holidays and clear skies...Paul


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nine44
sage
*****

Reged: 01/19/13

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Astronewb]
      #6269093 - 12/23/13 05:32 PM

Now that I have my axes tuned (Thanks again, Paul!) I'm trying to get proficient with using the polar align function from the handset. The polar scope is nearly impossible for me as my knees just can't handle the position I need to be in to use it.

I'm struggling with the selection of stars that the handset chooses. They all seem VERY obscure. I understand it is trying to find stars crossing the meridian at the moment you start the routine, but I have little confidence that I am actually centering the right star as they all seem to be quite dim. Anyone have some tips??? I would love to find a way to do a crude alignment using a couple of really bright, well known stars.


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: nine44]
      #6269496 - 12/23/13 09:18 PM

Quote:

The polar scope is nearly impossible for me as my knees just can't handle the position I need to be in to use it.




Huh? Is the front tripod leg facing north? Or did you leave the tripod as delivered, with the azimuth peg on the south side? If so, transfer it to the other side so the tripod leg isn't under the polar scope.

The counterweight shaft should be in line with the north facing leg for ease of use.

Once you can actually use the p/s, just position Polaris at the radius and hour indicated and turn the mount off and back on. Then all you have to do it perform a One Star align, center the star you select (brighter the better; Sirius, Kochab, Mirfak, etc) and you're all set to slew to your heart's content.

I never bother with a Multi Align or Polar Align, it's just easier to slew to a target and center it with the 'Synch to Target' feature. If your mount is level and the polar align is on, your targets will always be in the fov of a low power EP, or camera sensor.

Good luck and Happy Holidays...Paul


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