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New Skywatcher AZ GTi goto wifi mount

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#1576 RrainbowSix

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 09:37 AM

I took mine out last night and it worked fine for about an hour. I left it alone for about 30 minutes and came back and it had gotten somewhat cloudy on that side of the sky. I then told it to go to another area of the sky and the object was not in the FOV. I then told it to go to Vega and it did and I noticed that it was wayyyy off from Vega. I then told it to slew to Polaris and it was once again wayyyy off. Keep in mind that Vega and Polaris were the two stars I used to align with! I then told it to go to the home position of north and level and it slewed to level but it’s north position had somehow changed to about 20 degrees left of where it should have been. Somehow the mount got skewed all by itself in that 30 minutes alone without me even pushing any buttons and totally lost its home az position. 

 

When I goto a star I put the star in the center of a cross hair eyepiece at about 66x and can literally watch the star drift away from the crosshairs out of the FOV within a minute so tracking is bad too. This is the kind of stuff I deal with off and on with this mount. I want it replaced at this point. I’ll be calling SWUSA next week to set it up. The mount is less than 3 months old and has already been worked on once. 

I take it that you're doing a full polar alignment routine with the mount turned off before you do a two star alignment? Which software program?

 

I had similar issues until I started to use Sharpcap Pro for my alignment. Now I don't even do two star alignments anymore because I platesolve but most of the time my target is in the FOV after after slewing and before platesolving. 



#1577 Spikey131

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 10:15 AM

Both seem to be quite bigger and heavier than the AZ-GTi 

Which is part of the reason why they are better for AP.



#1578 Astrodave

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 01:23 PM

No dude. I’m in alt az mode. This mount would never do EQ in my opinion due to the slop in the gears. It would simply flop about its axis every time it went EW, as loose as its gears are. I’m basically ok with that but it’s the weird behavior like lastnight that to me is unacceptable. How did this thing just decide its new home position was 20 degrees west of north after an hour of decent accuracy and gotos? All on its own without any input from me? Not to mention the tracking. I put Polaris in the middle of the crosshairs at 66x magnification and can literally watch the mount track the star out of the FOV within seconds. Why is the mount even tracking like that at all on Polaris?? I can’t even sell it on in good faith like this. It’s maddening man. 


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#1579 kel123

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 01:31 PM

Unfortunately, they have issues even in 'visual mode'.

I would still recommend it though since I had 3 usable from 4. On to hunt the fifth hoping it will be like my second one :D


Are you into Gti collection or did you sell them?. Or perhaps you returned them? Why would you if you did, since they they usable?

#1580 organge

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 03:29 PM

Are you into Gti collection or did you sell them?. Or perhaps you returned them? Why would you if you did, since they they usable?

I sold them. I keep coming back to them. Unfortunately there is nothing similar in that size elsewhere. I would pay triple the money for a mount with the same form and 100% accuracy all the time not just sometimes.


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#1581 davidparks

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 03:31 PM

Early on I experienced, as did others, in AZ Mode, the pier topper was moving, which would throw off azimuth over time.  Of course this only applies if you are using the Skywatcher tripiod/pier commonly sold with the mount.  The white pier topper that attaches to the bottom of the AZGTi also attaches to the pier using 3 thumbscrews, if you don’t have these 3 thumbscrews tight, the topper can sometime spin around.  It was hard to imagine until I saw it for myself, now I always make sure those 3 screws are good and tight, even though  I use it now in EQ Mode.


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#1582 Bagwell

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 05:21 PM

Early on I experienced, as did others, in AZ Mode, the pier topper was moving, which would throw off azimuth over time.  Of course this only applies if you are using the Skywatcher tripiod/pier commonly sold with the mount.  The white pier topper that attaches to the bottom of the AZGTi also attaches to the pier using 3 thumbscrews, if you don’t have these 3 thumbscrews tight, the topper can sometime spin around.  It was hard to imagine until I saw it for myself, now I always make sure those 3 screws are good and tight, even though  I use it now in EQ Mode.

Good  point David.  There is even a dimple for one of the set screws to lock into on it.  People should make sure they get one of the set screws in the dimple.  I think SW put a little arrow to indicate which one is the dimpled point, so just match the arrow with a set screw and tighten.  

 

Vaughn


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#1583 Astrodave

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 06:35 PM

Yeah david I checked all that and everything is tight. I’ve gotten in the habit of always checking that because it does have a tendency to loosen but generally I have found it only does that when you manually move the az axis. It just started acting a fool for no apparent reason after an hour of pretty reliable gotos. Only thing I can think of is that I brought it from a 72 degree house out into a 95 degree outside with 70% humidity. Maybe there was some condensation from before that ran down. I see no reason why it should have happened. It started clouding up pretty bad everywhere right after that so I packed it in. I’m going to take it out for a bit tonight if the clouds hold off. The fact that it won’t track a star in the center of the eyepiece crosshairs is very bothersome as well. It just needs to be replaced with a working head. One that has accurate gotos and doesn’t have a super tight az axis and loose gears out of the box. 



#1584 kel123

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 08:43 PM

I sold them. I keep coming back to them. Unfortunately there is nothing similar in that size elsewhere. I would pay triple the money for a mount with the same form and 100% accuracy all the time not just sometimes.

I can relate to that. Mine was acting up and I returned it to the vendor for service. I was asked whether I wanted a refund or a replacement.

I opted for a replacement. I told them that nothing compares to its portability in the market as a grab and go mount.

Funny thing is that they said they saw nothing wrong with the mount I returned. They said for me to ensure that I power it with constant 12v if I use a battery input source or genuine rechargeable batteries if I use the battery compartment .

I guess I am ready to keep this mount with its imperfections. I just like the aesthetics. Perhaps because I own other mounts

Edited by kel123, 20 July 2019 - 08:45 PM.


#1585 TONGKW

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 07:42 AM

﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣
My AZ GTi has been working for over a year without problem, the gear backlash is minimal and the tracking is reasonably good for visual observation in the AltAz mode with a C5 OTA weighing about 6 lb.
For better balance, I attach a 3-lb counterweight at the other end.
My DIY counterweight shaft is just a M12 screw rod.
Instead of the stock tripod, I prefer to use a Feisol 3471 carbon fiber tripod.
I have just tried to mount a PST at the other end instead of the 3-lb counterweight as shown with a DIY bracket.
Now I can use the C5 with a white light filter for observing the sunspot and the PST for prominence.
There is appreciable vibration but still acceptable for the low 30x magnification used in observing the full disc of the Sun.
﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣

AZ GTi_C5_PSTjpg.jpg

﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣


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#1586 Roger Corbett

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 08:29 AM

Ton, that's amazing!

 

One could imagine doing something similar at night with a C-5 and, say, a 100mm Sky Scanner or Z100!



#1587 dr.who

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 01:55 PM

I won’t deny that quality control can be a hit or miss with this mount, but the silent majority is greater than the vocal minority. I wouldn’t claim that having a good example is an exception. I’m sure many are quite pleased with their mount and see no reason to express so on forums (such as myself).

 

I am one of the silent majority. It works remarkably well for VISUAL since that it what it is meant for. No slop no backlash etc. It is a $380 mount. People here seem to be demanding performance that would be found on a much more expensive imaging mount...

 

Perhaps... but that cuts both ways. How many did not bother and sound their negative opinions?

Likely less than the number with positive experiences. I follow this thread and see a very small subset of very vocal people here complaining about it...

 

Frankly what grinds my gears is the expectations about this mount. As I said above it is a $380 mount. It is not a $3,000 mount. It is also not meant to be used for AP. That some are doing it is great! That others are not and complaining about it is just stupid. I would expect a significantly different level on a $3,000 Losmandy GM811 in terms of performance and quality assurance. On the other hand I would expect a fair amount of sample variation on a $380 mount. Yet people here seem to want it to perform at the Losmandy level for that price which is unrealistic. If someone is returning the thing 4-5-6 times then likely this mount is not for that person due to expectations. Even for visual. 


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#1588 organge

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 02:29 PM

I am one of the silent majority. It works remarkably well for VISUAL since that it what it is meant for. No slop no backlash etc. It is a $380 mount. People here seem to be demanding performance that would be found on a much more expensive imaging mount...

 

Likely less than the number with positive experiences. I follow this thread and see a very small subset of very vocal people here complaining about it...

 

Frankly what grinds my gears is the expectations about this mount. As I said above it is a $380 mount. It is not a $3,000 mount. It is also not meant to be used for AP. That some are doing it is great! That others are not and complaining about it is just stupid. I would expect a significantly different level on a $3,000 Losmandy GM811 in terms of performance and quality assurance. On the other hand I would expect a fair amount of sample variation on a $380 mount. Yet people here seem to want it to perform at the Losmandy level for that price which is unrealistic. If someone is returning the thing 4-5-6 times then likely this mount is not for that person due to expectations. Even for visual. 

Still if it says go-to on the package you would expect the mount to work properly. I find this a cracking little mount but there is just too much variance between them. Quality control is non-existent since I had four and all four behaved differently. One was the champ, two so-so and one was really not usable. I am talking visual here. With many people complaining here and on other astro forums we have a big enough sample that shows the mount needs serious update in terms of performance.


Edited by organge, 22 July 2019 - 02:30 PM.


#1589 Spikey131

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 05:21 PM

I am one of the silent majority. It works remarkably well for VISUAL since that it what it is meant for. No slop no backlash etc. It is a $380 mount. People here seem to be demanding performance that would be found on a much more expensive imaging mount...

 

Likely less than the number with positive experiences. I follow this thread and see a very small subset of very vocal people here complaining about it...

 

Frankly what grinds my gears is the expectations about this mount. As I said above it is a $380 mount. It is not a $3,000 mount. It is also not meant to be used for AP. That some are doing it is great! That others are not and complaining about it is just stupid. I would expect a significantly different level on a $3,000 Losmandy GM811 in terms of performance and quality assurance. On the other hand I would expect a fair amount of sample variation on a $380 mount. Yet people here seem to want it to perform at the Losmandy level for that price which is unrealistic. If someone is returning the thing 4-5-6 times then likely this mount is not for that person due to expectations. Even for visual. 

Amen and stop the grousing.

 

Return it 5 times?  Fool me once, shame on you.   Fool me twice.....

 

I love mine.  Works up to my expectations.



#1590 dr.who

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 06:12 PM

Still if it says go-to on the package you would expect the mount to work properly. I find this a cracking little mount but there is just too much variance between them. Quality control is non-existent since I had four and all four behaved differently. One was the champ, two so-so and one was really not usable. I am talking visual here. With many people complaining here and on other astro forums we have a big enough sample that shows the mount needs serious update in terms of performance.

OK. If you say so. I am not seeing the same number of complaints across a meaningfully unique sample size. I am however seeing the same relatively small unique sample size complaining over and over again. Most of the complaints are about trying to get it to image. 

 

If you got four (4) three (3) of which didn't perform to your requirements I would suggest that the AZ-GTi likely isn't for you. Ditto for anyone else. 

 

To be clear on my point in this: this is a $380 USD mount. For $380 USD it does what it is designed to, for the most part, pretty well based on its price point. However because of its price point there will be variations in performance.

 

There are also going to be customers with completely unrealistic expectations of the mount and software. It is a bell curve for both. 

 

If there is actually enough interest and actual customers who put the money down in high enough numbers to warrant it, I would suppose that Synta would make another version that has higher quality components, higher QA, it was able to do AP with reasonable success across all samples, and so on. But I highly doubt there is that level of interest since at that point you are pushing into a price point where there are actually better suited for AP. 


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#1591 organge

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 06:38 PM

 

If you got four (4) three (3) of which didn't perform to your requirements I would suggest that the AZ-GTi likely isn't for you. Ditto for anyone else. 

 

It doesn't work like that.

 

The reality is that the quality varies too much. To some other industries we wouldn't be so forgiving. I was voting with my wallet and am sticking with the little mount. I wouldn't mind paying triple for such a small mount that is accurate 100% of the time. This one isn't and we shouldn't be playing it down by managing our expectations.

 

It's not that the mount isn't for some of us. It's exactly what some of us need. Small, light-weight go-to alt az mount. Is it really too much to expect it to be accurate for visual?


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#1592 CraigRL

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 06:59 PM

I am one of the silent majority. It works remarkably well for VISUAL since that it what it is meant for. No slop no backlash etc. It is a $380 mount. People here seem to be demanding performance that would be found on a much more expensive imaging mount...

 

Likely less than the number with positive experiences. I follow this thread and see a very small subset of very vocal people here complaining about it...

 

Frankly what grinds my gears is the expectations about this mount. As I said above it is a $380 mount. It is not a $3,000 mount. It is also not meant to be used for AP. That some are doing it is great! That others are not and complaining about it is just stupid. I would expect a significantly different level on a $3,000 Losmandy GM811 in terms of performance and quality assurance. On the other hand I would expect a fair amount of sample variation on a $380 mount. Yet people here seem to want it to perform at the Losmandy level for that price which is unrealistic. If someone is returning the thing 4-5-6 times then likely this mount is not for that person due to expectations. Even for visual. 

Well, I can't agree more with this. This mount continues to perform extremely well for me. No issues, consistent setup, performance and results for visual use and for EAA using SharpCap Pro ... and at a great price ... plus it is compact, lightweight and portable. smile.gif  If I were into astrophotography, I would use a different mount (e.g., Celestron AVX, CGX, CGEM ... iOptron CEM, etc.).


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#1593 moxican

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 07:31 PM

I am not sure how you compare a Losmandy GM to the AZ-GTI. And if you'd red the complaint post, you'd see that the main complain is that there is a wide variety of reliability. Some people have a great one, others have horrible one. Some had the entire spectrum.

So, if I happen to think that it has a lot of backlash and very inaccurate goto with proper polar alignment, I think it is my prerogative to do so. I don't remember any of us barking on you guys because you happen to like and it works for you.

This thread started with talking and sharing experiences with this particular mount, even the negative ones.


Edited by moxican, 22 July 2019 - 07:33 PM.


#1594 Taylor

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 09:08 PM

﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣
My AZ GTi has been working for over a year without problem, the gear backlash is minimal and the tracking is reasonably good for visual observation in the AltAz mode with a C5 OTA weighing about 6 lb.
For better balance, I attach a 3-lb counterweight at the other end.
My DIY counterweight shaft is just a M12 screw rod.
Instead of the stock tripod, I prefer to use a Feisol 3471 carbon fiber tripod.
I have just tried to mount a PST at the other end instead of the 3-lb counterweight as shown with a DIY bracket.
Now I can use the C5 with a white light filter for observing the sunspot and the PST for prominence.
There is appreciable vibration but still acceptable for the low 30x magnification used in observing the full disc of the Sun.
﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣

attachicon.gif AZ GTi_C5_PSTjpg.jpg

﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣﹣

 

My experience has been the same. Zero issues in alt-az mode, works perfectly with 127mm mak-cass, AT102ED, and AT72EDII.



#1595 NGC 2419

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:54 AM

...
This thread started with talking and sharing experiences with this particular mount, even the negative ones.

In my opinion the problem is that this thread started with people discussing this mount as it was intended to be used, but has devolved into a discussion about trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

This mount was designed and marketed as a low cost grab and go Alt-Az moumt, but people are trying to use it as an equatorial mount for astrophotography.

Again, in my opinion, this makes it difficult for people that are having issues using it as intended because when they come here for help, all they see are discussions about PHD, Sharpcap, ASCOM, etc.

I think it's great that some people are able to do astrophotography with this mount, but to come here and complain that a $380 Alt-Az mount isn't working for astrophotography is absurd.

To be clear, this is not directed at the poster I quoted. Your statement was just a launching point for my post, although I see that you are trying to use this in equatorial mode with "experimental" firmware. (Have you tried in Alt-Az mode?)

It would be nice to have a new thread for people that are having problems with this mount in Alt-Az mode so they could get the bugs worked out without wading through several hundred astrophotography posts.

If you've made it this far, sorry for the rant. Mine is working great for it's intended purpose.

Clear skies!

(Edited to ask quoted poster about Alt-Az mode)

Edited by NGC 2419, 23 July 2019 - 02:00 AM.

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#1596 maxsid

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 02:18 AM

This thread is great but deserves to be closed as it became huge and goes nowhere.

My AZ-GTi maybe not the best but is very good.

Using it in EQ mode for AP. 

Initial GoTos are 1-2 degrees off. Subsequent GoTos are much better.

Autoguiding struggles in DEC but usually is good enough for my AT72EDII.

Cheers!

 

Eagle Nebula. 60x120s. Very light polluted area.

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2019-07-20_02-22-20-ASI294-AT72-Eagle.jpg

Edited by maxsid, 23 July 2019 - 02:40 AM.

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#1597 SpaceOddities

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 08:57 AM

This little mount is definitely a great example of "your mileage may vary" :)

 

This mount was designed and marketed as a low cost grab and go Alt-Az moumt, but people are trying to use it as an equatorial mount for astrophotography.

Again, in my opinion, this makes it difficult for people that are having issues using it as intended because when they come here for help, all they see are discussions about PHD, Sharpcap, ASCOM, etc.

I think it's great that some people are able to do astrophotography with this mount, but to come here and complain that a $380 Alt-Az mount isn't working for astrophotography is absurd.

 

It might be worth quoting Sky-Watcher's website in this regard:

 

Capture.PNG

 

Sadly, it is extremely difficult for a newcomer to find relevant information. The truth is, there's no real documentation from Sky-Watcher; this topic has dozens of pages; and everyone uses the mount differently, from simple AZ Go-To for visual, to complex astrophotography in EQ mode with autoguiding, etc.

 

Perhaps a separate topic for the "advanced/experimental usage" of this little mount would be needed? Though I agree you can't really complain of something this mount wasn't meant for, the amazing photos some members are taking with this mount, makes me think it's worth discussing these experimental features and how to get the best of this mount. But on the other hand, users who need basic tips and support for the standard usage, should also have a place for that.

 

Apart from this, I think it's also fair to thank all the AZ GTi pioneers of this topic, especially David, for their amazing support, tests and explanations. Thanks guys! :) 


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#1598 mxcoppell

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 10:29 AM

This mount is not an Astro-Physics. But I do see its potential. Admit that I had a few post with details reporting defects of the AZ-GTi I received. But I didn't give up. My goal is to have a setup so portable that I might be able to carry overseas. The payload in my mind is about 4~5Kg (without payload).

 

I am still looking for solution to make it useful and stable. Easy to setup and easy to start the imaging sequences.

 

My current setup:

 

  • AZ-GTi (my 3rd one).
  • Sigma ART 135mm/f1.8
  • AstroMechanics EF Focuse Controller
  • QHY168c
  • Two 1Kg counter weight
  • SkyWatcher EQ Base
  • AZ-GTi Pier
  •  Manfrotto Aluminum Tripod (Lever Lock)

cc6c730ce553cf3c09cfdc79a964859.jpg

 

My first light report:

 

First of all, I didn't image anything. For the first light, too many moving pieces to take care. Somehow I can't get the QHY168c to connect to my computer. So for last night, the focus was on Polar Alignment and PHD Guiding tests.

 

First the polar alignment.

 

The SkyWatcher EQ base has to be replaced. It's definitely not good enough for polar alignment. Especially for the altitude angle adjustment; it was a tough job. I am looking for an alternative that could provide stable and smooth adjustments. 

 

I got used to AP's ASCOM driver that can let you rotate the RA for certain degrees - controlled from the imaging computer. But I didn't find that in SynScan ASCOM driver. Really need some help here. Otherwise I need to loose the RA clutch and rotate it by hand which will introduce errors into the setup. 

 

Second the PHD guiding.

 

I didn't experience the same problem reported. PHD completes the calibration and the guiding is good on top my super bad polar alignment. But it guided away. As you can see in the following picture, my DEC is way off because of the polar alignment. 

 

3a0c9beec2deecddaf4b0f6fe971c14.jpg

 

e528e9a5988ed215951832c1472b41f.jpg

 

Any suggest would be welcomed. Especially the computer controlled RA rotation (basically a software SynScan Hand Controller or some other ways around), stable EQ base and solid/portable tripod.

 

This is the hobby that is supposed to be hard. I take that.


Edited by mxcoppell, 23 July 2019 - 02:45 PM.


#1599 Astrodave

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 12:02 PM

Yeah I think some people are concentrating too much on the AP side of things and not listening to those of us with issues in alt az. I just want accurate goto and tracking. I’ll have one night where everything works great and then the next night the mount flips out and does the weirdest things and nothing will be in the FOV after a goto. I had it out on Sunday and it tracked the sun perfectly for an hour. The last time I had it out tracking the sun it wouldn’t keep it in the FOV for more than a few minutes.

 

Same with stars. Some nights it tracks great and others like over the weekend where you can literally watch the star move out of the FOV of a centered reticle eyepiece within a minute. No clue. I’m going to call them later  this week and setup another trouble ticket. My time behind the eyepiece is few and far between work and weather and I’m spending far too much of it grappling with the problems with this mount. Once aligned then I should just be able to select goto and it should just work like every other goto mount I’ve had. Right now this isn’t remotely happening on nearly enough of a consistent basis. 

 

If there was another option out there for a mount that did what this one did at this size then I would have tried it instead of trying my luck over and over with this one. People are buying 3,4,5 of these mounts for the same reason. Not because they are gluttons for punishment, but because they need something like this that does what this thing does. Price for me is not an issue like someone else mentioned as well. I’d pay double this price for this mount if it was built100% reliable and I didn’t have to worry if it was going to waste my time from night to night. 


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#1600 Alexdz57

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:37 PM

I can relate to that. Mine was acting up and I returned it to the vendor for service. I was asked whether I wanted a refund or a replacement.

I opted for a replacement. I told them that nothing compares to its portability in the market as a grab and go mount.

Funny thing is that they said they saw nothing wrong with the mount I returned. They said for me to ensure that I power it with constant 12v if I use a battery input source or genuine rechargeable batteries if I use the battery compartment .

I guess I am ready to keep this mount with its imperfections. I just like the aesthetics. Perhaps because I own other mounts

There have been several times when mine went "off" after several to many excellent gotos when using the internal rechargeable batteries (NiMH). It rarely (ever?) happens when I'm using a power pack. Perhaps power dropping is a problem--but only sometimes since I've worn down the internals without goto problems a few times.

 

There's really no "constant 12v" battery source. The wall wart would give you constant 12v.




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