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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Scott Rose
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 04/20/08

Loc: beachwood ohio
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: coopman]
      #6086077 - 09/17/13 01:59 PM

First Light with new mount. After a few glitches that the excellent customer service of Ioptron helped me with, I was ready to go. I am used to using my Tak EM200 mount, but wanted a lighter mount also. Polar aligning was straightforward and easy. Then I slewed to Alpheratz and it was close. After I got it centered and synced, I had it slew to Andromeda. Dead on. I slewed to a star on the SW and synced. Then went to M13. Dead on. Same for M11. I was a little apprehensive about this mount as I had some issues with an old Minitower. But this mount turned out to be great. And thanks Paul (astronewb) for all your help.

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ekallgren
member
*****

Reged: 12/23/11

Loc: Northern Nevada, Reno
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Scott Rose]
      #6086326 - 09/17/13 04:26 PM

Last Update, for now....
Called OPT this morning explained the situation to the person that answered the phone he listened to the whole sorted story took my number and said give me a few minuets and I will call you back with your options.
He called back in about 20 minuets, I had 2 options,
1, send it back to iOptron and they will pickup the shipping cost.
2, send it to OPT and I pay the shipping cost.
I went with option # 2 for the simple reason is I hope to have the new mount no later than Monday.

I very happy with OPT and their customer service, can't say enough good things about them...

The other good thing about this mount is it's size it fits nicely in a "Large Flat Rate" box from the post office. under $17 to ship it....

I will post on the new mount when she arrives....

Eric


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: ekallgren]
      #6086474 - 09/17/13 05:44 PM

Eric,

Great customer service is the next best thing to having a product work correctly out of the box.

Mike


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DesertCrawler
member
*****

Reged: 05/30/13

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: ebeyonder]
      #6087192 - 09/18/13 12:56 AM

Quote:


Hi, does anyone know if counterweights for an Orion Atlas/EQ6Pro would work with this mount? Thanks.




That may depend on the vintage of the Atlas, but the ZEQ25 uses a 20mm shaft.

I take advantage of the 8mm threaded insert in the end of the counterweight shaft to hang these off the end as needed:

http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_eqw1.htm


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: DesertCrawler]
      #6087214 - 09/18/13 01:24 AM

That's a nice looking product but expensive. An extra 10 pound counterweight cost under $40.

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DesertCrawler
member
*****

Reged: 05/30/13

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Mkofski]
      #6087581 - 09/18/13 09:28 AM

Quote:

That's a nice looking product but expensive. An extra 10 pound counterweight cost under $40.




Agreed, on all counts. However, when all you can use is a pound or two, the 10 pound weight isn't worth much and the smaller ones become more attractive.

For better or worse, here was my thinking at the time. It may help someone else in a similar situation by seeing the benefits or the folly in this approach.

So, when laying out a plan of attack for the C9.25 on the ZEQ25GT, I chose to make use of the PowerWeight battery pack weight, also a fairly expensive option. It would be one less thing sitting on the ground, and the extra counter weight it offered was required anyway. It does consume quite a bit of shaft real estate though. The PowerWeight, stock 4.7kg weight, and one (thin) 2kg weight are pretty much all that would fit the c/w shaft without an extension and still leave some room for moving the weights around. No extension existed at the time although that would have been an easy problem to solve.

Per my calculations, an additional 1-2 pounds more were required to bring into balance a fully dressed C9.25 (+/- 22.5 lbs). After deciding not to go the extension route, I ordered three of the weights with an understanding that I may only use two. In fact, I do only use two.

This arrangement satisfies current needs very nicely.

There may be other smarter ways to do it. The counter shaft battery back is a nice idea, but it is a spendy approach. There are battery alternatives that offer twice the capacity at less cost. Going that route would have left enough moolah on the table to sort out the c/w situation without the spiffy ScopeStuff weights. But then, I would be without the spiffy SS pieces so...it's kind of a draw.


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Seanem44
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/22/11

Loc: Woodbridge, VA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: DesertCrawler]
      #6089960 - 09/19/13 01:16 PM

I just purchased the ZEQ25 and I have a few questions. i will start my imaging unguided, as I will need once again to save up funds for a guider.

I read through the instructions about polar align. To get the best polar alignment possible, after aligning through the polar scope, what type of alignment do you use? One star? I know Celestrons have All-Star. Is there somethign similiar? I have never drift alligned. Will this be neccessary for short unguided shots?

I'm sure I will have more questions in the 2 or so weeks I am waiting for the mount to arrive. Thanks!


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Astronewb
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Seanem44]
      #6090022 - 09/19/13 01:53 PM

Quote:

I read through the instructions about polar align. To get the best polar alignment possible, after aligning through the polar scope, what type of alignment do you use? One star? I know Celestrons have All-Star. Is there somethign similiar? I have never drift alligned. Will this be neccessary for short unguided shots?




All you need to do, if you have a view of Polaris, is to place Polaris at the correct position on the polar scope reticle, based on your location.

Once that's done, a simple One Star align to minimize cone error and establish a pointing model is all that's usually necessary.

There is a 'Polar Align' menu item, for users who do not have a view of a pole star. You just point your mount as accurately as possible due north and at your latitude. Then the program gives you a selection of bright stars to align on using a combination of the < > arrow keys and the azimuth and latitude adjusters. The program tells you which adjusters to use on each (2) stars.

This is fine for visual, but I have not been able to image unguided with this routine for longer than about 45 seconds...:( It does work fine with an autoguider though.

Have fun when the mount arrives,

Paul


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Seanem44
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/22/11

Loc: Woodbridge, VA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6090037 - 09/19/13 02:01 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I read through the instructions about polar align. To get the best polar alignment possible, after aligning through the polar scope, what type of alignment do you use? One star? I know Celestrons have All-Star. Is there somethign similiar? I have never drift alligned. Will this be neccessary for short unguided shots?




All you need to do, if you have a view of Polaris, is to place Polaris at the correct position on the polar scope reticle, based on your location.

Once that's done, a simple One Star align to minimize cone error and establish a pointing model is all that's usually necessary.

There is a 'Polar Align' menu item, for users who do not have a view of a pole star. You just point your mount as accurately as possible due north and at your latitude. Then the program gives you a selection of bright stars to align on using a combination of the < > arrow keys and the azimuth and latitude adjusters. The program tells you which adjusters to use on each (2) stars.

This is fine for visual, but I have not been able to image unguided with this routine for longer than about 45 seconds...:( It does work fine with an autoguider though.

Have fun when the mount arrives,

Paul




So you mean 30-45 seconds unguided is all I can get without using a autoguider? Or is that for using the polar allign without a view of polaris?

Due to light pollution in my lovely Northern VA backyard, that's probably what I am limited to anyways.


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darethehair
member


Reged: 09/11/09

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Seanem44]
      #6090064 - 09/19/13 02:20 PM

Quote:

So you mean 30-45 seconds unguided is all I can get without using a autoguider? Or is that for using the polar allign without a view of polaris?

Due to light pollution in my lovely Northern VA backyard, that's probably what I am limited to anyways.




I recently purchased a ZEQ25GT mount myself, and view in my back yard is a narrow strip running north/south -- so I just went for a basic alignment fitting Polaris into the right position in the polar scope (as has been mentioned) with no other stars used to improve accuracy. I was very pleased to find that even with this extremely 'simple' alignment that I was able to achieve 'satisfactory' results with my 120 second attempt at M31:

Flickr: M31 Andromeda 120-Second Stack

Could I have gone even longer? Not sure, but I am eager to try at my next opportunity


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Seanem44
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/22/11

Loc: Woodbridge, VA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: darethehair]
      #6090076 - 09/19/13 02:27 PM

Quote:

Quote:

So you mean 30-45 seconds unguided is all I can get without using a autoguider? Or is that for using the polar allign without a view of polaris?

Due to light pollution in my lovely Northern VA backyard, that's probably what I am limited to anyways.




I recently purchased a ZEQ25GT mount myself, and view in my back yard is a narrow strip running north/south -- so I just went for a basic alignment fitting Polaris into the right position in the polar scope (as has been mentioned) with no other stars used to improve accuracy. I was very pleased to find that even with this extremely 'simple' alignment that I was able to achieve 'satisfactory' results with my 120 second attempt at M31:

Flickr: M31 Andromeda 120-Second Stack

Could I have gone even longer? Not sure, but I am eager to try at my next opportunity




That's not bad at all for 2 minute unguided exposures. What kind of skies are you in?


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darethehair
member


Reged: 09/11/09

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Seanem44]
      #6090097 - 09/19/13 02:40 PM

Quote:

That's not bad at all for 2 minute unguided exposures. What kind of skies are you in?




If you mean, "what Dark Sky Finder zone am I in", then the answer is 'orange'. I live in southern Manitoba (Canada) near the US border in a small city (Morden) of about 8000 people:

Dark Sky Finder: Southern Manitoba, Canada

I used to live in the provincial capital (Winnipeg) of about 700000 people, which is in the 'white' zone (eek!).

I occasionally take overnight trips to darker areas (e.g. 15-30 minutes away) but so far only with my DSLR/tripod and no scopes/mounts (for Milky Way timelapses) but maybe now with the ZEQ25GT I will consider some 'tracking'


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Seanem44
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/22/11

Loc: Woodbridge, VA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: darethehair]
      #6090114 - 09/19/13 02:54 PM

Quote:

Quote:

That's not bad at all for 2 minute unguided exposures. What kind of skies are you in?




If you mean, "what Dark Sky Finder zone am I in", then the answer is 'orange'. I live in southern Manitoba (Canada) near the US border in a small city (Morden) of about 8000 people:

Dark Sky Finder: Southern Manitoba, Canada

I used to live in the provincial capital (Winnipeg) of about 700000 people, which is in the 'white' zone (eek!).

I occasionally take overnight trips to darker areas (e.g. 15-30 minutes away) but so far only with my DSLR/tripod and no scopes/mounts (for Milky Way timelapses) but maybe now with the ZEQ25GT I will consider some 'tracking'




I'm in a red zone two minute exposures are a no go for me. Unless I have an LPR, which I don't.


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darethehair
member


Reged: 09/11/09

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Seanem44]
      #6090134 - 09/19/13 03:08 PM

Quote:

I'm in a red zone two minute exposures are a no go for me. Unless I have an LPR, which I don't.




I'd encourage you to try anyways. I thought that I should only attempt DSOs during the darkest days of New Moon, but I decided to try M31 a few days away from Full Moon, and I was surprised! I guess I have the additional advantage of a dark back yard (street lights blocked by the house). I have a great golf course nearby, but the parking lot flood lights *and* lights from a nearby water plant are killers there


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ebeyonder
sage
*****

Reged: 10/16/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: darethehair]
      #6090608 - 09/19/13 08:39 PM

Does this mount work with PEMPro's polar alignment sequence? Thanks!

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gramaglia
super member


Reged: 04/02/12

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: ebeyonder]
      #6091052 - 09/20/13 03:23 AM

While you save up for a better guide system which should cost around 200$. Like a orion mini guide scope and a used meade DSI camera, a cheap alternative I used in the past that works decently well with limitation is the use a finderscope with a cheap webcam (2 things you probably already have). The main limitation will be the finding of a suitable star bright enough for the webcam to be able to see that will allow PHD guiding to track. I haven't tried this method on the ZEQ25, but on my old LX90 it was night and day between unguided and webcam guided. Even if perfect focus with the webcam on the finder scope is difficult or rather impossible it not really an issue for guiding.

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Seanem44
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/22/11

Loc: Woodbridge, VA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: gramaglia]
      #6091263 - 09/20/13 08:47 AM

The Orion system was the one I was looking at. That's a great idea. Ill have to give it a go. I am pretty excited about this mount right now.

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boandpokey
sage
*****

Reged: 07/25/13

Loc: Auburndale, Fl
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Seanem44]
      #6091867 - 09/20/13 01:55 PM

Im an AP newb and was close to pulling the trigger on the AVX then I read this... LOL!

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Seanem44
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/22/11

Loc: Woodbridge, VA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: boandpokey]
      #6091877 - 09/20/13 02:04 PM

Quote:

Im an AP newb and was close to pulling the trigger on the AVX then I read this... LOL!




I almost went with the AVX... But, I love the design of the ZEQ and all the great things I've been hearing. Nothing against celestron, as I own the CPC, but there customer service can be slow and ioptron from what I hear is top notch. Also, I wanted a light weight dedicated imaging scope for my AT65. I will definitely post my experience when it ships around the 26th.


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boandpokey
sage
*****

Reged: 07/25/13

Loc: Auburndale, Fl
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Seanem44]
      #6091896 - 09/20/13 02:15 PM

Thanks Sean, I look forward to hearing wht your experience is

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