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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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tjugo
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/06/07

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: 186vett]
      #5914558 - 06/11/13 06:31 AM

Hi,

I got a Z25 a couple of weeks ago and after initial tests, I decided that the mount was not suitable for what I was planning to do, semi unattended imaging.

The mount looked solid and the tracking was very good, also the DEC guiding was very much painless and without backlash. Overall I was very happy with the mechanics and tracking.

The reasons I decided to sell the mount was:

-- The ASCOM driver is incomplete, for instance park or stop tracking are not implemented. I couldn't believe it.

-- Past meridian tracking is very limited (physical clearance) and since the ASCOM driver doesn't support early meridan flip this become an issue.

I am putting together a system run by SGP and definitely the mount is not suitable for semi-automated imaging. I hope that ioptron will update the ASCOM driver, or even better, donate a mount to the EQMOD main developer so their mount(s) could be run by EQMOD, that would be awesome, but probably I am day dreaming!

Cheers,

Jose


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: 186vett]
      #5914817 - 06/11/13 10:50 AM

Quote:

should I hold off for a few months?




Hi Jerry, holding off for a few months can only result in better software updates, in my estimation. Mechanically the mount is 'well done'.

I have seen a couple comments about 'cross talk' but have never experienced that with my mount. Once in a blue moon, I do get a little noise from my DEC motor housing, kind of like an old fax dial up noise, and it's usually right after I return to the zero position.

Seems like the mount is trying to 'dial in' the zero position for DEC, but can't? It's not overly annoying, and I've found that a quick push on the DEC slew button at any speed over 1 will instantly stop it.

I wonder if the users it has happened to realize that the gear housing tension screws have to be loosened a bit for proper operation? If the tension screws are run all the way in and left there, the worm and ring gear may be in constant friction mesh, which is not good.

Like the old saying, 'tight is tight..too tight is broke'..:)

I run my mount with the tension screws backed off at least 1 and 1/2 to 2 turns, and get awesome tracking and PHD graphs.

Again, this noise happens very infrequently, probably 3 to 4 times in the past 4 months.

Hope the info helps,

Paul


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5914833 - 06/11/13 11:00 AM

Quote:

I am putting together a system run by SGP and definitely the mount is not suitable for semi-automated imaging. I hope that ioptron will update the ASCOM driver, or even better, donate a mount to the EQMOD main developer so their mount(s) could be run by EQMOD, that would be awesome, but probably I am day dreaming!




Hi Jose, sorry the mount won't work for your intended use. You are right about the Park and Stop tracking, none of my iOptron mounts have that function when used in some planetarium programs, although Stop tracking is implemented in the Stellarium Scope application.

One thing I find handy, is that the hand controller works in conjunction with all the programs, that doesn't always happen when software programs take over.

The hand controller always has to be used to return to the Zero or Park position, which is not a big deal for me, but since the gps and park position coordinates are stored in the GPS, I don't know why it can't be used?

I would love for the mounts to be compatible with EQMOD and pulse guiding, but that's a Skywatcher oriented software program, and I don't think we'll see it happen anytime soon.

Good luck and thanks for that good info..

Paul


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rsbfoto
sage


Reged: 06/10/06

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5915043 - 06/11/13 01:04 PM

Quote:

I wonder if the users it has happened to realize that the gear housing tension screws have to be loosened a bit for proper operation? If the tension screws are run all the way in and left there, the worm and ring gear may be in constant friction mesh, which is not good.




Hi Paul,

As I only have the mount for a few days I am testing it in regard to the capacity of the motors. After having ir open and seeing the construction I am confident iOptron chose here good motor with a high torque.

I even did go a bit further and added 2 little washers ~1mm in total into the locking knob of the RA axis. At the moment I am driving the mount with both knobs fully turned in. While slewing the mount I listen carefully the motor noise in order to hear how they behave. I leraned this with my other mounts.

One advantage here is that a brass worm with an Aluminum gear will polish very nicely under this pressure, I think it is called lapping. I did that with the other 2 mounts and they improved. I never liked the backlash in my Los... mounts and after using a spring loaded system they improved a lot.

iOptron went a big big step further with this and I like the new system very much. They will have great success implementing it into bigger mounts.

I have now set it up in my studio and now the mount will be driven until it breaks down ... Maybe I break down first


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Craig L
sage


Reged: 05/10/03

Loc: London, Ontario, Canada
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5915058 - 06/11/13 01:16 PM

Quote:

Quote:

should I hold off for a few months?




Hi Jerry, holding off for a few months can only result in better software updates, in my estimation. Mechanically the mount is 'well done'.

I have seen a couple comments about 'cross talk' but have never experienced that with my mount. Once in a blue moon, I do get a little noise from my DEC motor housing, kind of like an old fax dial up noise, and it's usually right after I return to the zero position.

Seems like the mount is trying to 'dial in' the zero position for DEC, but can't? It's not overly annoying, and I've found that a quick push on the DEC slew button at any speed over 1 will instantly stop it.

I wonder if the users it has happened to realize that the gear housing tension screws have to be loosened a bit for proper operation? If the tension screws are run all the way in and left there, the worm and ring gear may be in constant friction mesh, which is not good.

Like the old saying, 'tight is tight..too tight is broke'..:)

I run my mount with the tension screws backed off at least 1 and 1/2 to 2 turns, and get awesome tracking and PHD graphs.

Again, this noise happens very infrequently, probably 3 to 4 times in the past 4 months.

Hope the info helps,

Paul




Hi Paul,

iOptron's excellent tech support came through. Two mounts arrived at my office: Mine and the one for my colleague, who's also a tech and an imager. His mount had the buzzing (crosstalk and chatter) in the motor, and he noticed a slight vibration on the motor. The vibration was his primary concern. Having said that, his PE graphs were pretty good.

I just set up my replacement (#3 - the first popped up with an error on the controller on boot-up) and after a fast slew, the motor buzzes like you say, like a fax machine. A quick tap on the direction button stops it. This is with the tension screws backed well-off. I chalk this buzzing up as being a minor quirk of the design and not a show stopper.

I've spoken with iOptron and my issue was a literal read of the .9 and 1.0 versions of the manual that referred to the tension screws as "Locking" screws. Of course, I locked the screws which likely caused the over-current problem on the RA motor. The manual will be updated to correct this, likely in the next iteration. I'm looking forward to really giving the mount a workout in the coming weeks.

Edited by Craig L (06/11/13 01:17 PM)


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Craig L]
      #5915566 - 06/11/13 05:59 PM

Quote:

iOptron's excellent tech support came through.




That's great news Craig, and yes, the manual left a little to be desired when it came to describing the proper adjustment of the tensioning screws.

Looking forward to your first light.

Oh, another bit of good news for all ZEQ25 and Smart EQ users with the 8408 hand controller. It looks like they will be compatible with Sky Safari/Sky Fi in the next few weeks in the upcoming Sky Fi update.

Cheers,

Paul


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rsbfoto
sage


Reged: 06/10/06

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5915621 - 06/11/13 06:32 PM

Quote:

I even did go a bit further and added 2 little washers ~1mm in total into the locking knob of the RA axis. At the moment I am driving the mount with both knobs fully turned in. While slewing the mount I listen carefully the motor noise in order to hear how they behave




I just slewed like crazy the poor little mount around the sky and played with the knobs. As long as you do not feel that you have a backlash you can loosen them as much as you want. If it is well balanced it is possible to have little pressure on the worm block just in order to avoid a jumping of the 144 teeth gear over the worm.


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: rsbfoto]
      #5915880 - 06/11/13 09:32 PM

Quote:

I just slewed like crazy the poor little mount around the sky and played with the knobs. As long as you do not feel that you have a backlash you can loosen them as much as you want. If it is well balanced it is possible to have little pressure on the worm block just in order to avoid a jumping of the 144 teeth gear over the worm.




Lol...you are a crazy man Rainer..:) The key wording in your statement is "If it is balanced".

If it is balanced, no problem. But, you stand the chance of accidentally nudging the mount or ota in the dark, and then listening to the horrible sound of the gears unmeshing, and you losing your careful alignment and zero position.

Which is why it's important, and good practice, to establish and mark a zero point on the RA and DEC, so when that happens (been there, done that), you can quickly get the mount back to the right position by hitting 'Return to Zero' position and aligning your marks using the slew buttons in RA and DEC.

Sounds like you're having a lot of fun and little frustration with the mount, I like that...:)

Ciao,

Paul


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leveye
member


Reged: 02/06/13

Loc: Oregon Coast
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5916745 - 06/12/13 11:17 AM

Quote:

One thing I find handy, is that the hand controller works in conjunction with all the programs, that doesn't always happen when software programs take over.


The hand controller always has to be used to return to the Zero or Park position, which is not a big deal for me, but since the gps and park position coordinates are stored in the GPS, I don't know why it can't be used?





I totally agree with the first part quite handy in fine tuning things as for always having to use the HC for control here is what i do when you are in configurations and choosing the ascom iOptron telescope.net driver you can choose properties and use "controller with direct connection" and a red screen appears you then connect to the planitarium program and if you want to go to zero position you disconnect from the program and connect to the iOptron control screen and hit home the mount will then go to zero position and you can then dissconnect and reconnect to the planitarium program or to PHD for autoguiding. I do this all the time and use the directional buttons to compose the imaging scope using my guidecam thru PHD works great and can do it all from 65 feet away in my home.

Edited by leveye (06/12/13 11:30 AM)


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rsbfoto
sage


Reged: 06/10/06

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5916972 - 06/12/13 01:19 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I just slewed like crazy the poor little mount around the sky and played with the knobs. As long as you do not feel that you have a backlash you can loosen them as much as you want. If it is well balanced it is possible to have little pressure on the worm block just in order to avoid a jumping of the 144 teeth gear over the worm.




Lol...you are a crazy man Rainer..:) The key wording in your statement is "If it is balanced".

If it is balanced, no problem. But, you stand the chance of accidentally nudging the mount or ota in the dark, and then listening to the horrible sound of the gears unmeshing, and you losing your careful alignment and zero position.

Which is why it's important, and good practice, to establish and mark a zero point on the RA and DEC, so when that happens (been there, done that), you can quickly get the mount back to the right position by hitting 'Return to Zero' position and aligning your marks using the slew buttons in RA and DEC.

Sounds like you're having a lot of fun and little frustration with the mount, I like that...:)

Ciao,

Paul




Hi Paul,

I agree with you ... but crazy, NO WAY ... I would say crazy and a bit ...

... but frustration ¿? Not a bit. The mount is awsome.

The only problem I will have is that if iOptron comes out with a big Z mount for maybe, let me dream awake, 100 pounds I will need to sell both of my tuned Losmandy G11 and there I see a problem.



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Bluejay08
member


Reged: 09/29/09

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: rsbfoto]
      #5918046 - 06/13/13 12:22 AM

I heard that one with ~100 pounds payload is coming...

Jay


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Bluejay08]
      #5918075 - 06/13/13 12:47 AM

Quote:

I heard that one with ~100 pounds payload is coming...

Jay




Shhhhhh..............!

Paul


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zjc26138
Loved By All
*****

Reged: 02/24/05

Loc: Mingo Junction, Ohio
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5918093 - 06/13/13 01:09 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I heard that one with ~100 pounds payload is coming...

Jay




I really hope so.

Shhhhhh..............!

Paul




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RandyC
sage
*****

Reged: 04/01/13

Loc: RI
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: zjc26138]
      #5942337 - 06/26/13 11:40 PM

Hi, I just put my C8 w accessories weighing 14lbs on the ZEQ25. One 9.8lb CW was not enough. It needed an extra 5lbs. Other than that, what a pleasure that altitude adjustment is! It's cloudy so I don't know any more.
Clear skies, RandyC


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Astronewb
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: RandyC]
      #5942411 - 06/27/13 01:25 AM

Quote:

Hi, I just put my C8 w accessories weighing 14lbs on the ZEQ25. One 9.8lb CW was not enough. It needed an extra 5lbs. Other than that, what a pleasure that altitude adjustment is! It's cloudy so I don't know any more.
Clear skies, RandyC




The latitude adjuster is a pleasure indeed, no matter how much ota and counterweights you put on, as long as it's balanced...you can move it with two fingers!

Enjoy learning the mount Randy, looking forward to your first light.

Paul


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Rick M.
super member


Reged: 03/16/13

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #5953140 - 07/03/13 01:25 PM

Is anyone using the PowerWeight battery pack to power this mount?

http://www.canadiantelescopes.com/Shop-By-Brand/Accessories_17/iOptron-PowerW...


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Dan Finnerty
sage


Reged: 09/11/11

Loc: Pasadena, CA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Rick M.]
      #5953574 - 07/03/13 05:57 PM

Quote:

Is anyone using the PowerWeight battery pack to power this mount?

http://www.canadiantelescopes.com/Shop-By-Brand/Accessories_17/iOptron-PowerW...




I have been looking at this myself. 8 amp-hours capacity does not sound huge, but that should power the mount for at least 12 hours. I have not metered power usage of my mount yet so this is a WAG estimate (and assumes that you don't want to more than half-discharge a lead acid battery).

It has adapters to fit several different diameter counterweight shafts, so that adds to its versatility.


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Dan Finnerty
sage


Reged: 09/11/11

Loc: Pasadena, CA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Astronewb]
      #5953611 - 07/03/13 06:29 PM

Got my ZEQ-25 in a couple of weeks ago and had an immediate problem with it. As it turned out the Dec controller board suffered infant mortality. It burned out as I was playing with mock alignments and goto slews in my living room.

iOptron tech support was very helpful, they mailed out a replacement board and Dec motor. Only the board needed replacing so I will be sending the motor back. They gave me an option of either returning the mount or installing replacement parts. I thought it would be quicker and certainly more fun to do it myself. Board replacement was easy and all is now good. And now I have some idea of the inner workings of the mount which might come in handy when out at a dark site.

I do have one issue with the mount, and need to see if there is an adjustment I can make. There is a lot of free-play in the mount, in Dec in particular. The axes are "spring loaded" and the worm always returns to its contact point with the worm wheel gear teeth, but it is too easy to move it from this proper contact point. I have screwed the gear switch locking screw all the way in and there is still too much slop.

It makes focusing difficult, with a high power eyepiece the act of focusing can bounce the target completely out of the field of view. It was not too bad with my SVR-80, but very frustrating with my ES127 ED. Now the ES127 is really pushing the capacity of the mount, but at about ~19 lbs (it is the carbon fiber OTA), it is still below rated capacity. The tube is a long lever arm, and I found I had to use the index finger of one hand to press the ota against the gear teeth while focusing with the other hand.

I did double check to ensure that the locking screw was properly installed on the mount. If you remove the chrome knob, there is a small ball point pen-like spring that fits inside the knob and a steel ball (like a ball bearing) that the other end of the spring captures and presses against the part that actually applies tension to the worm gear.

I will contact iOptron to see if there is a way to minimize the movement (or increase the spring tension against the worm wheel), but have not had the time yet. Been a busy week and I'm leaving for vacation this weekend.

I'm taking this mount (and several other mounts/OTAs) with me to the Golden State Star Party next week. If anyone has any ideas on how to tighten things up a bit, please let me know!

Other than this one issue and the now-fixed Dec board problem, this mount is a dream. I've not had a chance to check tracking accuracy/periodic error yet, but if it performs anything like Paul's mount it is going to be a winner for DLSR and small telescope astrophotography.


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Rick M.
super member


Reged: 03/16/13

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Dan Finnerty]
      #5954626 - 07/04/13 11:30 AM

Thanks, Dan. This looks like a very appealing mount. I'm unsure of whether to wait until some of the early bugs gets ironed out.

Rick


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Ryuno
sage


Reged: 05/09/13

Loc: Tokyo
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Rick M.]
      #5959366 - 07/07/13 06:06 PM

Hi Paul and other users

I am planning for a little larger scope than my Sky 90 (which is mounted on a P2Z).

Do you think the iOptron ZEQ25 could be used for an 8" Cassegrain design (FL ~2500mm, OTA ~19 pounds+accessories, tube length ~800mm) for visual and imaging?? How stable would this setup be?
Is the 1.5" tripod stable enough for vibration-free operation, or would I need the 2" tripod?

It looks like an intriguing travel mount (I need to get away from my city to see any stars).

Heinz


Edited by Ryuno (07/07/13 11:02 PM)


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