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iOptron Smart EQPro +

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18 replies to this topic

#1 nicknacknock

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 03:43 AM

I am considering this mount for EAA using a lightweight 72mm at 332mm effective focal length and using a guidescope (if necessary for this focal length + mount capabilities). Total load will be 9 pounds max. 

 

I have read both good and bad stuff for this mount, especially for the "regular" version (not the +) which used plastic parts for the worm assembly. However, I am keenly interested as this mount is way lighter than my Celestron AVX and can be transported and set up VERY easily.

 

Feedback from users would be most appreciated, pros & cons, any mods done to improve the mount (forget about the tripod, I will use another one). Thanks!



#2 mhettrick

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:53 AM

A couple months ago, I found the included so-called "bright field" polar scope completely inoperable. Could not see Polaris amid the bright light, even at lowest setting. Furthermore, even with the illuminator turned off, the eyepiece focuser range was insufficient to bring the star field into focus, and in any case was nowhere near the position at which the reticle is in focus. Despite having purchased and used several other iOptron mounts (CEM25P, CEM60 and SkyGuider Pro), the response from iOptron customer service to the obvious problems I discovered with the SmartEQPro+ polarscope, to be completely lame and superficial. I returned this mount to the dealer. If you purchase this mount, plan on having to supply your own polarscope, unless iOptron has changed the design of the that included with this unit. 



#3 nicknacknock

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:55 AM

Hi mhettrick & thanks for the quick feedback!

 

As I use SharpCap Pro to polar align and then I platesolve with CdC and ASPS, I have no deed to use the polar scope. I am more interested in the worm assembly, overall tracking, reliability etc. How was that during the time you had it and (hopefully) used it?



#4 ew22

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 05:50 AM

Are you boys talking about zeq25? I just purchased it and am awaiting delivery. If there are concerns with it pls let me know


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#5 nicknacknock

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 05:52 AM

No, not the ZEQ25. I am referring to this mount ;)



#6 Myk Rian

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 07:25 AM

I have the Pro+ and use it with my Meade DS-90 @ 7.5 lbs.
There are 2 focus adjustments on the polar scope. One for the reticule, and another for the distant star focus. I have yet to do a polar alignment, but I don't see that the light is too bright.

You have to tighten the clutch screws pretty hard. There are 2 for the DEC clutch. 1 for the R.A. 1 for Lat.

I used it for our last outreach a couple weeks ago, and it tracked Saturn and Jupiter very well.

I'm still waiting for an un-cloudy night to give it a real workout, but so far I like it.



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#7 Myk Rian

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 07:27 AM

Buy the case for it.

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#8 ew22

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 07:27 AM

Buy the case for it.

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I actually did. Lol



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#9 Myk Rian

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 08:41 AM

The manual doesn't touch on adjusting anti-backlash.
Here is a video. https://youtu.be/jub0OsPdwus

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#10 nicknacknock

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 10:43 AM

If I get one, it will be adjusted by my supplier - we have a long standing relationship and he tunes everything he sells to me for free (sigh, to the detriment of my wallet, I am one of his best customers), so I am not worried about backlash.

 

I am interested in feedback from owners how they like it or dislike it and why. Just trying to make myself comfortable with this purchase before I commit the funds...



#11 mhettrick

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 07:53 PM

I didn't get to the point of tracking or guiding with it, so unfortunately can't directly address this for the Smart EQ Pro. However, I can tell you that both of the two CEM25P mounts (the next step up from the Smart EQ Pro) had an incredibly large amount of backlash (~ 5-10 arcsec on the first and ~ 15-20 arcsec on the second) in the Dec direction, making guiding in that direction initially useless.  After disassembling the second one I purchased, I found the problem was that the rotating hinge on which the motor and worm assembly is mounted, had been factory tightened to the extent that it could hardly rotate even by hand (let alone by the small force exerted by the sprint). After properly adjusting the set screw on one end to provide a smooth rotation, and removing/replacing the factory-supplied grease on the worm drive gearing, this backlash all but disappeared. Unfortunately, the first CEM25P which I purchased is still in another country (at an observing site) presently, so I can't determine with certainty the source of its backlash problem, but from what I could disassemble and diagnose in the field I suspect the problem is at least in part due to friction between the brass worm and the aluminum worm wheel causing the former to "ride up" on the latter when the direction is reversed; so I intend to replace the factory grease with some better stuff (Pete's red grease) and to fine-tune the gear engagement. 



#12 mhettrick

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 07:54 PM

I meant to type "spring", not "sprint".



#13 Myk Rian

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 09:00 PM

Here is some info on adjustments.

https://www.cloudyni...on-axis-wiggle/

 

https://www.cloudyni...al-disassembly/

 

A little long winded, but this fellow did some mods.

https://www.youtube....h?v=KSuZnW3QvX8


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#14 nicknacknock

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 10:59 PM

Hmm, seems if I have mine tuned before receiving it, that I would get quite a few years of service out of it! 

 

Sigh, if only Celestron came out with a mini AVX...


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#15 dciobota

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 10:59 AM

I also have the smarteq pro+ and love it.  It is very lightweight and portable yet it should handle your scope no problem, especially for EAA.  Mine also has some backlash which I will now try to eliminate (thank you Mik Rian!), but it guided just fine.  There is some PE, so guiding is a good idea anyway.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Edit: btw, while the avx is a decent mount, the smarteq pro has ball bearings in both axes, an advantage over the avx.  If Celestron came out with a mini avx, I'd probably still choose the smarteq pro unless they improved on the original avx design.

 

On another note, my polar scope was pretty useless out of the box too, way too bright.  There's a youtube video that talks about improving the smarteq pro, including blackening the illuminator enough so it's usable.  Also, the clutch knobs can be replaced with stainless butterfly knobs (also I believe explained in the video) which are much better than the factory ones.


Edited by dciobota, 30 August 2018 - 11:03 AM.


#16 nicknacknock

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 12:56 AM

dciobota,

 

Wish I could avoid guiding and I will try and see how it goes, given that I do 15 sec exposures for EAA so my requirements are much less than any imager's requirements.

 

Re the AVX, again, I can't say much other than the fact that to me, mine is flawless - but again, I do 15 sec exposures! I love the Nexstar software and I find it a breeze to use, Vs any other software (SkyWatcher, you reading this??).

 

I will order this though for my AVX and install it to improve RA performance - not that it is necessary to me, but at this price, why not?

 

A good thread, to which I will revert once I do the dirty deed in order to do some tweaks on the mount :)



#17 Myk Rian

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 07:51 AM

On battery life, a set of new Rayovac has lasted abt 12+ hrs.
I noticed last night, while testing EPs on saturn, the mount started acting wonky. The display will start dimming and blinking when the motors turn.

There doesn't seem to be a battery warning on the display. But then again, I was slewing alot and didn't pay much attention to the display.



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#18 1983cowboy

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 10:15 AM

Yep! I concur. When it comes to SmartEQ Pro behavior when the batteries are getting low, it can start acting goofy. Wild slews that just take off, and hand control inputs that have to be repeated. I've since started using a 12v Talentcell instead of using AA's.

I stopped using the supplied tripod not so much for stability (it was OK, but not great) but because I wanted more height. I put it up on a surveyor's tripod last year and it seems to like that just fine.

 

The only other thing I have to be careful about is really cranking down the RA clutch. (I replaced the original knob with a wing-bolt that has more threads) If it's loose, the whole thing wants to slip, but if I keep that tight, and balance the RA axis carefully, it's a fun little performer.

 

 

 

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#19 Myk Rian

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 12:16 PM

Instead of doing the epoxy deal on the tripod legs, I used 1.5" blue tape instead. That tightened it up.

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