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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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John Miele
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/29/05

Loc: North Alabama
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Hermie]
      #6056529 - 08/31/13 06:51 PM Attachment (35 downloads)

Hermie,

Here's a little bit more...

1. The knob that was loose on the spreader plate attachment rod had a set screw that just needed to be tightened. A couple turns and it's good to go.

2. I marked my tension adjuster knobs with permanent marker to help keep track of how much I turn it.

3. I followed Paul's excellent tutorial on marking the "zero" position of the mount. When I was done I noticed the CW shaft was not pointing straight down at all. So I loosened the three CW shaft set screws and rotated the shaft until it pointed straight down. This might not really matter but it looks more "right" so to speak...

Hope to get second light late tonight...

John

Edited by John Miele (08/31/13 06:55 PM)


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John Miele
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/29/05

Loc: North Alabama
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: John Miele]
      #6057923 - 09/01/13 03:51 PM

I just received my mount last week and can report you will need to update the hand controller firmware but the motor controllers are the latest versions on the website. I just updated the HC firmware using the website instructions and it was simple to do and worked perfect.

I also noticed my polar scope was NOT aligned correctly in the housing. It may be pre-installed but I suggest you place the mount in the zero position, remove the polar scope caps and look at the reticle. Mine was clearly misaligned about 6-7 deg. off the vertical. When you remove the DEC axis cover you will see the illuminator has a little room to move in the hole. I was able to loosen the set screw and easily rotate the polar scope body to the correct position and then retighten the set screw.

The only somewhat issue I have is the GPS performance has been very erratic. Last night it took over an hour to lock on the signal. This morning, while, upgrading the firmware, I turned on the mount and the GPS locked on in just a few minutes. This does not really matter much because the mount is tracking time anyway and I rarely change observing locations, but still... Can anyone else report how long it takes their GPS to lock on? I'm not sure if I should report this as an issue to iOptron or not....John


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: John Miele]
      #6057975 - 09/01/13 04:26 PM

John,

On iOptron's Yahoo users group the erratic GPS connection time is mentioned frequently. There is a lot of good information there, you should join that group. There are some things you can do to decrease the time but I don't remember what they are off hand. Sure someone else can chime in here to help.

Mike


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Astronewb
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Mkofski]
      #6058207 - 09/01/13 07:39 PM

Hi John, the Z mount has one of the slowest GPS receivers in the industry..:) I can set up, align, and be imaging before I get a GPS lock signal. If you turn the DEC axis 90 degrees to the mount when setting up with the mount powered up, it will usually lock on in 8-15 minutes.

As you say, no problem as long as you haven't travelled more than 100 miles from your normal location and don't know the current locations coordinates.

The mount stores your GPS location in memory once it locks in, so it's good to go from start up usually. In fact, the 'beep' from the GPS lock startles me at times, because I'm already imaging, and think it's some kind of error message when it occurs.

Clear sky,

Paul


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John Miele
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/29/05

Loc: North Alabama
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6058382 - 09/01/13 10:07 PM

Hmmm...I thought the time was kept in the controller. But I just tried another set up. The GPS would not lock but I did a slew to object anyway. The scope was way off the target. So I checked the time in the hand control and it was almost two hours incorrect and appeared to correspond to the last time I tried and got a successful GPS lock earlier in the afternoon. So it would appear that if you do not get a GPS lock you have to enter the time manually when you turn on the mount. Does that sound right? If true, then this will be a very annoying issue. You might as well not even have GPS capability in the mount ...John

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gramaglia
super member


Reged: 04/02/12

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: John Miele]
      #6058400 - 09/01/13 10:23 PM

John, I have to agree with you the GPS feature on this mount is more a negative than a positive. Like Paul said it eventually does get a lock well into the imaging session and the beep it does makes your wonder if something went wrong. As far as I can tell it does keep the information from the previous GPS lock, which is fine by me as my mount as 2 possible location about 10 feet apart based on what area of the sky I'm imaging to avoid the walls that surround my back yard.

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Astronewb
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: gramaglia]
      #6058610 - 09/02/13 02:01 AM

Quote:

So I checked the time in the hand control and it was almost two hours incorrect and appeared to correspond to the last time I tried and got a successful GPS lock earlier in the afternoon. So it would appear that if you do not get a GPS lock you have to enter the time manually when you turn on the mount. Does that sound right?




No, that's not right. The HC should display the correct time if you have entered it in the Setup Menu originally.

The mount stores the GPS coordinates (location), the HC stores the time and date. Check your HC when you power on the mount for the correct time and correct date. You may have a low battery in the HC.

I know, it's new. But I've changed 3 button batteries in as many new mounts within the first 2 months of ownership.
The batteries shipped with the mounts are of really poor quality, if it tests less than 3.0 vdc, throw it away.

First clue is the time not displaying properly, a dead giveaway is the date defaulting to 2011, which will really mess up your go-to's.

Regards,

Paul


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Bill McNeal
sage


Reged: 10/07/07

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6058632 - 09/02/13 02:33 AM

How do you change the HC batteries and what type are they? There's no mention in the instruction manual.

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Astronewb
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Bill McNeal]
      #6058837 - 09/02/13 08:43 AM

Quote:

How do you change the HC batteries and what type are they? There's no mention in the instruction manual.




Just remove the four screws on the HC, remove the rear cover, and there is a button battery on the circuit board.

It's a 3v, CR1220 battery, your local Radio Shack or hardware store probably carry them in stock.

There is no mention of this in the manuals, just an oversight I guess?

Cheers,

Paul


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John Miele
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/29/05

Loc: North Alabama
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: Astronewb]
      #6058871 - 09/02/13 09:06 AM

Paul,

Thanks! I'll check my battery straight away....

John

Quote:

Quote:

So I checked the time in the hand control and it was almost two hours incorrect and appeared to correspond to the last time I tried and got a successful GPS lock earlier in the afternoon. So it would appear that if you do not get a GPS lock you have to enter the time manually when you turn on the mount. Does that sound right?




No, that's not right. The HC should display the correct time if you have entered it in the Setup Menu originally.

The mount stores the GPS coordinates (location), the HC stores the time and date. Check your HC when you power on the mount for the correct time and correct date. You may have a low battery in the HC.

I know, it's new. But I've changed 3 button batteries in as many new mounts within the first 2 months of ownership.
The batteries shipped with the mounts are of really poor quality, if it tests less than 3.0 vdc, throw it away.

First clue is the time not displaying properly, a dead giveaway is the date defaulting to 2011, which will really mess up your go-to's.

Regards,

Paul




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John Miele
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/29/05

Loc: North Alabama
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: John Miele]
      #6062314 - 09/04/13 08:59 AM

A brief update on my earlier issue with GPS lock and hand controller time keeping. Paul was correct. Even though I had a new mount, my hand control battery was quite low on voltage. I measured 2.99V. I bought and installed a new battery that measured 3.28V out of the box. Im not sure if the battery condition contributes to GPS performance, but my couple of GPS locks since battery replacement were much faster and occurred within a few minutes of turning on the power. I have also been rotating the RA axis 90 deg. to clear the top of the control board. The hand control is now keeping perfect time. Battery replacement is easily accomplished too. Thanks for the tip Paul!...John

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Rich Asarisi
journeyman


Reged: 08/13/13

Loc: Connecticut, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions new [Re: John Miele]
      #6067444 - 09/07/13 09:37 AM

I found a strange problem with my mount. I set some zero position markers on my mount as Paul explained in his write up. I took the mount out the other night to do some ap and when I brought it back inside I notice that even though I told it to go to the zero position the marks no longer line up on either the RA or DEC axis. I figured maybe I reset the zero by accident, so I loosened the clutches and tried to reset the zero mark back to zero. Can't be done. No matter what its off a few degrees either side of the zero mark I had originally made.
Very strange --any one see this before? Or have any idea why or how to correct it?

Thanks


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Rich Asarisi
journeyman


Reged: 08/13/13

Loc: Connecticut, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Rich Asarisi]
      #6067754 - 09/07/13 12:45 PM

I think I figured out my own issue. It's nothing to be alarmed about and there is nothing wrong with your mount if this happens. Here is what is happening. After polar aligning and at my pre-marked zero position I slew to an object or location. Then I hear the DEC motor or RA motor making that noise like a fax machine, i select 1 or 2 on the keypad and hit the controls to silence the noise from the motors. That small amount of change in RA and DEC will change the position of your pre-marked zero. Okay users beware!

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Rich Asarisi
journeyman


Reged: 08/13/13

Loc: Connecticut, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Rich Asarisi]
      #6067760 - 09/07/13 12:53 PM Attachment (60 downloads)

Here is a shot of the milky way from my backyard using the ZEQ25, Nikon D4 and a Nikon 28-70mm f2.8 lens set at 28mm. I'm still new at this so there is noise and artifacts in the image. Probably need to use a shorter exposure time and learn to do better post processing.

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Bill McNeal
sage


Reged: 10/07/07

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Rich Asarisi]
      #6067778 - 09/07/13 01:05 PM

Very nice!

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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Bill McNeal]
      #6068342 - 09/07/13 06:41 PM

Well. I finally ordered a zEQ25. In a week or so I should have it. The skies have been clear a lot lately... hope that holds for a bit longer.

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Astronewb
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Mkofski]
      #6069142 - 09/08/13 09:42 AM

Quote:

The skies have been clear a lot lately... hope that holds for a bit longer.




Ha, not a chance Mike. Get out the umbrella and raincoat, and you might as well drag out the galoshes too...:)

The Z will be a great match for your refractors. Here's an image I took off the Z last week:

M31 with a Borg 125SD by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

Good luck and have a ton of fun, don't forget to download the full User's Instructions from iOptrons website, it only comes with a basic Quick Start guide.

Regards,

Paul


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Astronewb
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Astronewb]
      #6069153 - 09/08/13 09:48 AM

Quote:

Can't be done. No matter what its off a few degrees either side of the zero mark I had originally made.
Very strange --any one see this before? Or have any idea why or how to correct it?




Hi Rich, good info. Sometimes it's too obvious how to get the zero marks dead center. When you return to zero, if the marks are off a tad, just use the slew buttons in RA and DEC to perfectly center the marks, then turn the mount off, and back on again. Problem solved.

Now that you have aligned it perfectly, it will return there after several slews, try it indoors..:)

Clear skies,

Paul


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ebeyonder
sage
*****

Reged: 10/16/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: Hermie]
      #6069268 - 09/08/13 10:48 AM

This is a very intriguing mount! Does anyone have any real-life experience mounting a C11 to this mount? I suppose the C11 is within the advertised load for this mount, but it just seems a bit huge for it?

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gramaglia
super member


Reged: 04/02/12

Re: iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions [Re: ebeyonder]
      #6069710 - 09/08/13 03:07 PM

I have no experience with a C11 on this mount; however Paul chase did try to mount a huge RC on the mount and it seemed to slew quite effortlessly on the video he made. Don't know if he ever tried to image with that set up. Judging by the video I'm guessing you could use it visually. I'll let Paul make any additional comments on the matter as he is by far the most experienced user of the mount here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cIOTROXEpQ


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