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Orion EQ-26 Mount Review
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Orion EQ-26 Mount Review
Packaging: Adequate; No damage
Finish: Matte Black; Appears to be powder coating
Setup: Basic EQ Mount setup, nothing out of the ordinary
Tripod: [Sturdy] SS 1.75” Dia. Legs
Weight Rating: 26lbs
Function: All areas of the mount worked appropriate out of the box
Power Requirements: 12v, 5A
· Specs state 12v, 5A power requirement; However, I ran this off a 12v 3A power bank with no problem
· There was a small amount of cosmetic overspray appearance inside the mount where you would remove the cap for the polar scope view (front of the mount), but this was minor in appearance only, no real issue
· There are posts to allow the use of knobs (supply your own). While they are not meant to be used when motors are connected, if a motor dies in the future or you decide to go manual, the mount allows for the option. I mention this as it was a concern of mine to be able to go manual if desired (by removing the motors of course). I have seen some that appear to not have the knob posts as options when they are motorized. There are no clutches on the motor drives, but there are the standard mount head clutches for both axis’s.
· Polar scope cap actually stays put. 😊 These sometimes have cases where they are to lose, so it was nice to see one that stayed on.
· +1 Point for having a level built into the mount head.
Scopes [Currently] On The Docket For Use On This Mount:
· Celestron C5
· Orion 6” Astrograph
· Orion 70mm White-Light Solar Refractor
Planned Usage For This Mount:
· Basic Short Exposure Astrophotography
The finish on the mount is a matte black that was shown to be smooth & clean in appearance. The EQ setting circles seem to be solid in place and should last a long time. The polar scope being included I thought was a nice touch as many mounts say this is “extra”. I think if you are selling an EQ mount, it should be “included”. The knobs on the clutches and tripods seemed adequate. I would recommend adding a little white paint, or something visible in dark areas, to the clutches as they really blend in with the matte finish.
The mount head & SS 1.75” tripod legs were shown to give off the appearance of stability for sure. During viewing and tracking (with the noted scopes above for testing) the mount was steady & solid. Vibration, even at high mag, was suppressed almost immediately.
The manual balancing & swinging (manual hand slewing) of the mount seems smooth, but not loose feeling. The mount feels like it is solidly built
The tracking was shown to be right on and tracked well. The slewing speeds available are more than enough. While I don’t have the patience for motor slewing when going all the way across the sky & prefer to just manually get it close than switch back to the drives, the mount’s max slew speed was fast enough to get you there if you are so inclined.
The weight of this mount is nothing to sneeze about. While I would not call this a “grab-n-go” mount, I would say the weight seemed pretty balanced if you were planning on doing some hulking around. I have this sitting on some 3-Wheel dollies (2” wheels) & it rolls with just the right amount of friction; not too rough to where it’s a pain, but not so smooth to where the wind blows it into vibration town. Note: the 1” wheel dollies would work, but not that smooth to move around. The mount comes with two(2) 5.5lb counter weights.
The hand controller, simply put, is simple. It has no fancy thrills & I considered it to be pretty intuitive. Set your desired slew speed and move as needed. It automatically tracks when starting up and goes back to tracking speed when you release the associated slew button(s). One thing to note, the power cable also plugs into the hand controller and then powers the drives through this. I mention this just for basic wire management when moving around and mindfulness placing power banks. I have not done so yet, but plan on cleaning up some of the bird’s nest of wires I seem to have going on right now on the starboard side of the mount. 😊 With the mount not extended much, I have more cable than probably needed – insert zip ties here
While this is a category I really am not concerned about, I have seen this on many reviews where motor drives are concerned, so this may be helpful to some. I do not consider this mount to be loud at all. I would say even at the highest slewing speed, the drives were not loud enough to be concerned with. While I ran the mount with a 3A power bank vs. a 5A (as the spec notes), to make sure I was giving the best information, I did plug into a 5A power chord to ensure I wasn’t giving false data. I did not notice any sound difference between the 3A and the 5A power source.
In conclusion, at this stage of testing, I would recommend the mount to anyone that wants a stable mount with tracking, but does not require Go-To. While I cannot speak to any long astrophotography tracking, it seemed well enough for visual and short exposure astrophotography which suits my [current] purpose. This looks to be a keeper.
Some Images of 1st setup
- mcoren, Charles B., Red Brick and 2 others like this
Great job on the review! Organized very well and so thoroughly.
I put up a review of my own on this mount. It can be seen on the EQ26 thread in Mounts.
The one I received a new EQ26 from Orion that had excessive play in the dec an RA axis with the locks engaged. It was so bad (3~4 degrees each way) that making corrections in tracking was impossible. The hand controller went haywire and would work intermittently or not even turn on to initialized at times. I returned it and got a full refund. I do not recommend unless you're willing to take a chance of having to go through the ordeal to return it which cost me over two hours talking with the Orion tech guy, repackaging and turning it into the UPS Store. Photography? Forget it. Way too much slop in the drivetrain. Others have concurred with this opinion as well. The 26-pound weight limit is way overly optimistic. I hope others have a better experience than mine. See more in the mount forum here: https://www.cloudyni...6#entry12548049
You chose the correct word when dealing with a return from Orion: Ordeal. I had to call the customer service rep three times to see where my refund is. They received the last package on March 24th, but didn't issue a refund until yesterday, April 4th.That's if I take the word of the customer service rep saying the refund was processed. The excuse for holding onto the refund was that they were running a week behind schedule in the warehouse due to Covid. Did you get your refund right away and or an email from them showing the refund? I never received an email showing my refund was processed.
Sad to hear. Orion once had a great reputation for customer service.
Just an update, they fully refunded my payment. Just sad that it would take so long and not get an email confirmation of the refund. I think these astro companies really need to stop manufacturing everything in China. The QC is pretty poor.
Thank you for taking the time to write this review! Your close-up photos of the mount are also much appreciated.
My overall impression from the Orion web site and your review is that this is a slight mechanical refinement to the venerable Orion SkyView Pro EQ5 mount, which isn't a bad starting point. I like that they enclosed the drive motors in plastic housings, they replaced the flimsy telephone connectors on fiberglass PCBs with panel mounted DIN-style connectors, and the hand controller doesn't look like something that was put together using parts from Radio Shack!
On the other hand, it's too bad they still require the separate cable for the declination motor, and they still have all of the wires on the hand controller (the "bird's nest" you mentioned).
One question: Can the support tray be rotated out of the way to allow the legs to fold with the tray attached? Or does it have to be completely removed?
It has to be removed to collapse the legs.
Actually this appears to be a new version of the Orion Astroview mount, which itself was a descendant of the Synta EQ3-2 - like the Celestron CG-4. They ultimately trace back to the Super Polaris, which was the model used.
There are motor kits for the Astroview that allow use of a SynScan handbox with full goto capability - is that true here?