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AVX RA Right slew speed different than Left.

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#1 amendola

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 07:01 PM

OK, so I'm struggling with my AVX guiding. PHD2 tells me that the RA backlash is too far out, so after doing everything I can think of with configuration and whatnot, I decide to adjust it mechanically. Everything seems to be going fine, when I notice that the RA slew speed with right on the hand set is much faster than left. It takes 1 min to rotate the ra motor when going right, and 3 min 20 seconds to rotate the motor left. I think that something may have gone wrong with the mount electronics. It shouldn't behave this way should it?


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#2 terrypaula

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 10:15 PM

Have you reset the firm ware in the handset?  Mine did the same thing and when I emailed Celestron support they said to reset and or update and or reinstall the firmware make sure you erase all your old profiles too.  It helped a lot but the only thing that actually totally stopped it for me was in the end to buy or build a StellarMate and start using it.

Thanks  After I purchased my AVX I found out that, upon arrival, most need to be hyper-tuned.  That's not a good policy.  I have been successful in fixing the issue on my own.  After tearing the mount apart I found it was binding in one direction.  After polishing the surfaces and putting the correct lubrication on everything the problem ceased right after incorporating the StellarMate.  It's been a brutal Winter and my mount has been running on almost every evening that it's been above 10 degrees.  Brrrr..

I'm not a StellarMate employee but I never would have thought that AP would be as easy as it has been for me to adopt.  I've been using mine for Astro-video.  AV is quite pleasurable for viewing.  Stacking the video clips makes for getting some nice shots of the skies too.  On my 50 with a reducer you should see the wide field shots.  Viewing I just use the diver from the camera to view over a computer screen or my Raspberry Pi / StellarMate based hand control.  It works for me.  All I paid for the hand control is around $100 total and given all it does it was an absolute bargain.  Honestly, just the PA software is worth the cost in the headaches it stops.


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#3 amendola

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 11:36 PM

I can't see how using a StellarMate could possibly solve a problem with the RA motor acting up. It does this without any computer attached, just the handset. When it was attached to a computer using indi and PHD2 (which I'm guessing StellarMate uses) it was giving strange errors about not being able to move the mount enough. I don't think that it's under warranty any longer, so I'm going to look at the motor, and see what I can do. I may have to order a new one...  



#4 amendola

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 11:46 PM

OK, so just put the kids to bed. Took a look again. roughly 3x faster in one direction. So I unplug the motor cable, plug it back in, and it seem to be going the same rate in both directions. Loose connection???

 

I'm taking it out to night and I'll soon see!



#5 terrypaula

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Posted 16 March 2019 - 04:11 AM

I forgot to mention I had to replace the motor board with a kit available through Deep Space Products.   For some reason they cal it an upgrade even though the parts looked the same.  I know it took care of a loose connection I had at that connection the declination.  When the mount would execute a slew it would in dec start then stop then start then stop.  Repeatedly.  Another part of the symptoms I had to deal with.  Some thing I didn't have with the CG4-GT I put together.  But after completely rebuilding my AVX with the motor board I had to replace too. I think I could have purchased a GM-8 or a new CEM25 or CEM40.  When I think about I get mad at myself for keeping a brand new inferior mount and fixing it myself.  I could have sent it back and bought another brand too. 

Truthfully, I'm not all that sure what is wrong with yours, but logic tells me where to start.  I would start at the very point/side where the issue is and, at least look into replacing the parts; maybe  motor or motor board or maybe even both.  At that time you could take advantage of the opportunity to clean an re-lube the worm gears.  A place where the issue might be??.  Always do the cheapest thing first.  You know what they say, if your join are stiff more on one side then the other, treat THAT spot.  That is where my Doc put the last Hydro shot.  If you understand what I mean.

But don't do anything if it's under warranty.  Make them deal with it.  Have you even taken the covers off to look at anything. I saw a video online and the dude had a rock inside his mount.  I hope that helps.  I always look at the fre fix before I get my wallet out.  It's an expensive enough hobby.  I went to extremes to take care of my mount problems.  Don't do that.  If it's not quite right sell it and note to the next guy what is wrong with it.  Get something else if you have too.

I, in my efforts, even bought a StarSense Auto-Aligner.  I am happy with that purchase though.  It really impresses people when you can get you equipment up and running in less the 15mins total time to viewing from nothing.

In the end the StellarMate smoothed out everything, operationally in my observatory.  THAT"S the main reason I got it.

Good Night ALL.


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#6 amendola

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Posted 17 March 2019 - 01:33 AM

Thanks for the advice Terrypaula. I think that you're right being careful not to waste money. I've done it before and it can be really frustrating. So that first night everything seemed to be going wrong after I got the telescope out. The mount was lurching in different directions. It was pretty depressing. So just tonight, I took apart the mount again, and redid the worm adjustment. I think that I just had it too tight. It seems to be working really well right now. After plugging / unplugging the motor connection it seems to be running the same speed in both directions as well. So I'm hoping it's just a loose connection, combined with my poor adjustment of the worm gear. I'm way too tired tonight to try it out, but next clear night I'm hoping that things will be working really well. 

 

Jamie


Edited by amendola, 17 March 2019 - 01:34 AM.


#7 terrypaula

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Posted 17 March 2019 - 06:22 PM

I am more then happy to help if I can.  I just saw a situation that reminded me of somethiing similar that happened to me. At the time I was very upset especially after spending that much money on a brand new top of the line mount and to not have it work the way you KNOW IT IS SUPPOSED too.  I wanted to sledge hammer mine into dust.  It was a good thing that my wife was home at the time.  I am normally a very patient man but after spending $2200 I figured that any of the usual frustrations were over.  But before I destroyed it totally I returned the mount to the manufacturer for FREE after telling the rep what was wrong, two days later I had a new one at the front door that was personally guaranteed  to operate flawlessly and the old one was on it's way back to the factory.  I don't think i was ever that angry, not even when in the military at war.

I am SOO happy with this new GM8, light weight to carry too, I can't express it. To me the mount is the most important part of the telescope. For proof try hold it by hand to look at anything.  I always, at least, at the time of purchase is to get something twice as heavy-duty as I actually need.  By the way I did not opt for the goto from Losmandy I went with something that was about as standardized as I could find.  I am now able to go completely wireless and if I want to use a hand control a SynScan hand control.  For this mount I put a lot of thought into it.  I was sure I wouldn't have any regrets. I did but it was handed to the manufacturer, Thank the Lord.

 

Tracking and navigation with the GM8 has never been easier or better.  I'd stack it up against anything out of China.  If a person can't afford a new one there is always the used market.

This AVX mount I have, unless Celestron does a lot of retooling will be my last Celestron mount.  I am just not happy with the quality.  I is very stupid to make something like this that begs for precision like a telescope mount but to build a mount without bearings in them is about as ignorant as anything I've ever seen.  If you could see what they used in the RA you might just throw it way.  and flat bearing on the RA hat is that for anyway.  Because it the wrong type of bearing to have in a spot like this.  Their choice leaves absolutely no lateral stability.

If I haven't the funding for another GM8 I'm going to get a center weighted mount.

After my warranty statement I made I take it your mount is out of warranty?


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#8 terrypaula

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Posted 17 March 2019 - 06:25 PM

BOYCOTT SYNTA



#9 amendola

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Posted 18 March 2019 - 12:46 AM

I doubt it's still under warranty, and I don't feel like dropping a bunch of money on a new mount. I've also gotten pretty familiar with the AVX, so I really don't want to switch unless I have to. I have managed to get occasional really good guiding, and if I could make that consistent, that's all I need. 

 

I've had quite a bit of trouble with the mount. I bought it in 2016, and about a year in, it started behaving erratically, not moving in some directions. They had me send it in, and ended up sending me a different mount. It seemed to be doing fine since I was just doing visual, but now that I've been doing imaging, this intermittent loose connection has been ruining many nights with me pulling out my hair trying to figure what was going wrong. Quite the journey figuring out what's wrong since I'm just learning about all of this. So I think it's pretty unlikely that it's still under warranty unless they give me 2 years on the replacement mount. Either way I should find out next week. 

 

I'm sure I would have chosen a different mount if I knew then what I know know. -- OH well. I really just want this to work. I hope that it's just the loose connection. If not and it's not under warranty, I'll probably buy a new motor/control board for $300. Problem with this approach, is I won't be able to trust the replacement parts since their quality control is so bad. This is really too bad, since I really like the mount and optics from Celestron. They just need better quality. 

 

So hopefully next clear night I'll have a better idea if this is now working. Unfortunately the 10 day forecast is rain. 



#10 terrypaula

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Posted 18 March 2019 - 03:00 AM

It solved my problems with my AVX.  Some of them I guess have questionable motor boards.  Most of then from what I can say at least mine had the date of manufacture printed on it; dated the same dates that China was have capacitor QC issues.  But that is only speculation on my part.  I know if I owned a car that needed repair the first year I owned it I don't believe I would own it much longer. 

 

Yes I am very familiar with Celestron and yes I like mine a lot.  Having been someone who owned a Meade GEM I really enjoyed the simplicity of the AVX.  But all ws going well with my and then about 2 yrs in things started to go dodgy like slews that never would complete. Then it progressed to starting and stopping.  Then it wouldn't work at all until I wiggled the DEC cable and held onto it.  That was the last straw.  I tested the connection and the powere terminal was bad.  Under a magnifying glass it looked as though the connector was about to break off inside.  That's when I got the motor board.  Replacement was pretty straight forward.   Just loke anything else don't over tighten anything and be careful of the connections especially the power connection terminal, it has to go back at the original place and it is quite fragile.  All my slews complete now thank you.  Besides $300 is a lot cheaper then buying new mount.

One more thing I really didn't start having any issues to start with at all or at the least because I was only viewing  I never noticed.  Just test things through until your sure and replace the parts necessary.  Besides that there are enough used AVX mounts on the market.

You do know there is a forum here on Celestron and I believe a special AVX category too.

It's bed time.


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#11 terrypaula

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Posted 18 March 2019 - 03:02 AM

If you decide to replace the motor board I would appreciate knowing.  Plus how things work out after.


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#12 amendola

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 11:51 AM

Update. Some good news. So two things happened.

1) Resetting the connection (unplug / plug) from the motor board to the RA motor, seems to have fixed the different speed issue. The other issues with the RA lurching, seem to just been caused by me adjusting the worm too tight. I can't fully test it because of cloudy skys, so I'll have to wait and see.

2) Celestron has gotten back to me and will fix it if I pay for shipping. So once the skys clear I'll try it out, if there are still issues, I can just send it to Celestron and they can replace what ever needs replacing. 



#13 Waldemar

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 12:40 PM

BOYCOTT SYNTA

I think you are barking at the wrong tree here... Synta is just doing what Celestron is telling them to do: 'Make a mount as cheap as possible, so we can make more money on it...'



#14 WadeH237

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 01:11 PM

Synta is just doing what Celestron is telling them to do...

This might be exactly backwards.  I'm pretty sure that Synta owns Celestron.


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#15 terrypaula

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 01:25 PM

OK then let's petition them instead of boycott all the manufactures that contract Synta to build their mounts better and attempt to standardize the industry. 

 

PETITION RATHER THEM BOYCOTT

 

Boycotting was just a means to get their attention.


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#16 terrypaula

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 01:35 PM

Update. Some good news. So two things happened.

1) Resetting the connection (unplug / plug) from the motor board to the RA motor, seems to have fixed the different speed issue. The other issues with the RA lurching, seem to just been caused by me adjusting the worm too tight. I can't fully test it because of cloudy skys, so I'll have to wait and see.

2) Celestron has gotten back to me and will fix it if I pay for shipping. So once the skys clear I'll try it out, if there are still issues, I can just send it to Celestron and they can replace what ever needs replacing. 

GOOD TO HEAR!  It sounds like you may have found the problem. 

The last 2 days here have been pretty nice.  I was able to do some viewing with my TS503 last evening on the EQMOD goto mount I just put together.  Hopefully by the time Summer shows up I'll have it figured out.  Right now I getting into the integration processes and differences between KStars and Stellarium Planetarium programs.  One of them is better for me then the other. I have to try them both.

My StellarMate will work with either one all I need is  dedicated client for both to run either one or both of them from anywhere I want too.  What can I say, it's a process.


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#17 Waldemar

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 02:07 PM

OK then let's petition them instead of boycott all the manufactures that contract Synta to build their mounts better and attempt to standardize the industry. 

 

PETITION RATHER THEM BOYCOTT

 

Boycotting was just a means to get their attention.

Nice thoughts, but I am afraid they don't care a bit... 
Only very few producers offer good aftersale service. 



#18 WadeH237

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 03:33 PM

OK then let's petition them instead of boycott all the manufactures that contract Synta to build their mounts better...

If you want to buy a better built mount right now, there's nothing to stop you from doing that.  I know that I did.  You might not like the price, however.  Quality is not cheap.

 

After having been in this hobby for multiple decades, the price-to-performance - and yes, even quality - at the $1000 to $2000 price point has never been better.


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#19 amendola

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 03:37 PM

GOOD TO HEAR!  It sounds like you may have found the problem. 

The last 2 days here have been pretty nice.  I was able to do some viewing with my TS503 last evening on the EQMOD goto mount I just put together.  Hopefully by the time Summer shows up I'll have it figured out.  Right now I getting into the integration processes and differences between KStars and Stellarium Planetarium programs.  One of them is better for me then the other. I have to try them both.

My StellarMate will work with either one all I need is  dedicated client for both to run either one or both of them from anywhere I want too.  What can I say, it's a process.

I'm pretty happy about the situation in general. It looks like it's going to work just fine, and if not Celestron has offered to fix it. I'm actually really happy with their support. My AVX is something like 3 years old, and they are still supporting me. I think that it's because they considered the mount swap to be a new 2 year warranty. I'd say that their support has been terrific, and I do really like the mount. Not so much liking their quality control though. 

 

I've somewhat recently switched to kstars, and have to say it's fantastic. The list of things that it does is long. Platesolving, mount control, camera control / sequencing, focus control, phd2 integration, skysafari connectivity, dome control etc. I'm using Indi on linux to connect all of the components, and kstars seems to be co-developed with indi, so it's integration is awesome. 

 

I've recently realized that I don't need to do any aligning with the avx handset other than selecting "quick align", and then just plate solve a few stars with kstars and I'm off to the races:) Now if I can get some clear skys...



#20 terrypaula

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 05:37 PM

I'm pretty happy about the situation in general. It looks like it's going to work just fine, and if not Celestron has offered to fix it. I'm actually really happy with their support. My AVX is something like 3 years old, and they are still supporting me. I think that it's because they considered the mount swap to be a new 2 year warranty. I'd say that their support has been terrific, and I do really like the mount. Not so much liking their quality control though. 

 

I've somewhat recently switched to kstars, and have to say it's fantastic. The list of things that it does is long. Platesolving, mount control, camera control / sequencing, focus control, phd2 integration, skysafari connectivity, dome control etc. I'm using Indi on linux to connect all of the components, and kstars seems to be co-developed with indi, so it's integration is awesome. 

 

I've recently realized that I don't need to do any aligning with the avx handset other than selecting "quick align", and then just plate solve a few stars with kstars and I'm off to the races:) Now if I can get some clear skys...

That is exactly what I do when I align my AVX.  I do go one step further though. The StellarMate recognizes the Star Sense Auto-Align, it uses the same thing for alignment purposes, plate solving, it just isn't as accurate.  Then I fine tune it using the alignment software in the StellarMate.  The Stellarmate does soo much and has so many settings I don't know if I will ever understand it completely.  I just know that after around 5min I'm ready for 1-2hr subs.   Before I tried doing any AP I slew to a glob and it stayed centered for 3hrs.  That is when I got bored.  I was using SM's internal guiding software with it too.
I found out through trial error that you can do AP with the StarSense as long as you do a PA and then an auto-align and turn on guiding setup tour favorite auto-guiding solution and have fun.  It does work but not a good as the StellarMate.  It's about as close to an all-around astronomy tool as one can buy or build.  I guess I never realized that KStars had all the tools in there native.  I am using the StellarMate si ta I won't have to go outside to do any observing, except maybe to change out a Barlow.  I've even got the auto-focus module working.  It is nice to be able to view on sold clear nights wen it's below ZERO and see the clear skies.  But that's the only thing about Winter that I like.


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#21 amendola

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 05:57 PM

That is exactly what I do when I align my AVX.  I do go one step further though. The StellarMate recognizes the Star Sense Auto-Align, it uses the same thing for alignment purposes, plate solving, it just isn't as accurate.  Then I fine tune it using the alignment software in the StellarMate.  The Stellarmate does soo much and has so many settings I don't know if I will ever understand it completely.  I just know that after around 5min I'm ready for 1-2hr subs.   Before I tried doing any AP I slew to a glob and it stayed centered for 3hrs.  That is when I got bored.  I was using SM's internal guiding software with it too.
I found out through trial error that you can do AP with the StarSense as long as you do a PA and then an auto-align and turn on guiding setup tour favorite auto-guiding solution and have fun.  It does work but not a good as the StellarMate.  It's about as close to an all-around astronomy tool as one can buy or build.  I guess I never realized that KStars had all the tools in there native.  I am using the StellarMate si ta I won't have to go outside to do any observing, except maybe to change out a Barlow.  I've even got the auto-focus module working.  It is nice to be able to view on sold clear nights wen it's below ZERO and see the clear skies.  But that's the only thing about Winter that I like.

Yep, looking at their website, it appears that stellarmate is a pre-packaged and setup raspberry pie with all the indi/kstars etc software already installed. I spent months doing this all myself. I basically built a stellarmate starting with a rpi. When I first started looking at buying a system with better control I don't think that stellarmate was around otherwise I would have bought one. I'm really happy with my setup though, as I have complete control of everything. I build all of the software from scratch, and have scripts to pull the latest code from the repos and build it when ever new features / bug fixes come out that I'm interested in. I've kept a journal of it here https://astropifi.blogspot.com/ I've since switched from the PI to an Intel Atom to get better performance. At some point I'd like to switch back to a platform with lower power requirements like the PI, but with more computing power. 



#22 terrypaula

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 09:28 PM

Yep now I have 2 automatic alignment tools one of them I can use on everything the other just one.  They both interface with Sky Safari and StarSense Auto-Alignment is a breeze to align with Sky Safari.  The sky chart in Sky Safari is pretty accurate when it's hooked to a system that has been auto-aligned too. But I rarely if ever have to do an extra star alignment after I run the auto-alignment on SS.   Finding targets and tracking them hasn't been this easy, ever.  First time out I have to find the center of both scopes again and then I'll be off.   I reset and flashed the hand control over the cold Winter nights.  I can say that after running a Losmandy GM8 goto mount at at an elderly gentleman's home here near my home town.  It was quite an experience, what I found out was the auto-alignment system on the GM*8 is suspiciously similar, looking and operating, to the alignment modules on the StellarMate.  When I where out my AVX I WILL get at the least a used GM8.  What awesome engineering.  Used they are just about the same as a new CGEM or similar.  I also like the new center balanced Iopteron mount.  They just came out with a CEM40, but hold your breath when you hear the price.  I have an old LXD55 I might just refurb it too.  It will handle 35# and if the electronics are replaced with a nice stepping motor bely drive unit it WOULD make a nice mount.  Especially with a nice 2" AVX tripod under it.   Yup it fits I checked no post trimming necessary thank you.  I used to have a lot of close calls but no wrecks with the LXD.  It'll be nice to be able to stop the scope from crashing into the mount by telling the mount where to stop.  I always felt the LXD55 mount would balance out better then then it's younger brother and definitely better then an AVX.  It's design is a direct copy of the Vixen Super Polaris; Vixen definitely a classic and they are still in demand.  Good let finding the hen's teeth and a fire inside of an ice cube.

I'd love to find an SBC that had the correct architecture to support the StellarMate it is prretty demanding on the resources that the Pi produces.  The HD on WOULDN'T be an SD chip I would at least try to employ an mSATA SSD drive.  Their much faster and they are on the small side, but I ran into the little issue of powering it. Each addition has the same power requirements.  They do demand a certain amount of electricity.  Yes you can use batteries and tether the to a charger. but it demands something much simpler and cheaper.  Maybe even a charging cradle.  But you gotta have 2-3 of the lithium variety.

Someting I want to try this Summer is seeing if I can align the mount without touching it from scratch.  I've been told that with the StarSense it is possible.  I wiil find out.  If I'm successful I'll post it.

You told me more about KStars then I've gotten from a fw other people that are experts in AA.

I an share this with you also but you probably already know this but if there is a module missing that yor want or need for KStars/Ekos Jasem has links to tutorials on his SM website to help you install them and run them too.  That is where I found out that the SM had it's own Auto-Align module and it works with the SS handset, recognizes it's Auto-Align and takes the GPS info too.  What else would an AA or APer need except a cold one.

Again please let me know bow ting work for you, if you like I would be willing to give you my email address so we might be able to converse throug email.  Good Luck and Good Night.  I'm going out to stare at Orion, the twins and Cygnus, my favorite characters except maybe Bugs Bunny.

If you haven't guessed I haven't in this hobby for my entire life I have been interested in AA ever since i can remember.  it hasn't been but 5 rys sinceI retired and started in on the hobby.  I maybe better read then most though but practical?  I have to ask others just as much as everyone else.  It's just if I know I'll tell someone in distress how to fix something.



#23 amendola

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 12:36 PM

Ok, so I adjusted the Dec worm as well, took it out, and the problem is still there. It's not just backlash, Dec south moves a lot slower than north. I just contacted Celestron, and they'll take it back and fix it. My guess is motor controller. Thanks for the help and advice. I'll let you know how it works out.

#24 terrypaula

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 07:32 PM

Ok, so I adjusted the Dec worm as well, took it out, and the problem is still there. It's not just backlash, Dec south moves a lot slower than north. I just contacted Celestron, and they'll take it back and fix it. My guess is motor controller. Thanks for the help and advice. I'll let you know how it works out.

Well that's good AND bad.  I am glad I mentioned checking the warranty but I believe you'd a thought about it yourself.  At least you'll get your mount addressed by the right people.  I think it's wonderful that they'll fix it.

 

Before I retired I had my own IT support company with around 30 employees and I made it a company wide policy before tearing into any clients equipment, all my employees had to document whether the original or any warranties, for that matter, were still in place. 

Everyone of them that still had warranties in effect at the time of the called us to do work for them.

One more thing, have you ever heard of a gentleman named Dr, Clay from, (Arkansas Skies?), he has a business tat called "Super-Charging"  some of call it Hyper-Tuning.  If nothing else a person such as this would have the expertise to effect a proper repair or provide some consultation. 

I listened to the wrong person shortly after I adopted the AA hobby and took there advice about an issue I was having with a CG4, the mount I installed the goto kit onto.  The advisor suggested I spray D-40 deep into the DEC and RA areas and the next day it wouldn't move; I was barely able to get it apart.  Good thing I had a couple pullers to get it apart without damage.  I ended  up tearing it apart anyway. LOL.  Live & Learn  I think of it -- I was the dummy with the spray can in my hand. 

 

Here's a  theory for the forum:  How Celestron treats you in this matter WILL effect future sales because if Celestron disrespects the warranty contract in any way, plus seeing as you reported the issue on a CN forum the problem will get attention from other hobbyists.  Starting a forum here and asking the right questions and documenting the symptoms is the right way to go.  I always say "da squeaky wheel gets da grease." Remembering my first goto purchase, LXD55, and it wouldn't, I was inconsolable.  After the first evening left me wondering if it could use the mount for bait?  Thankfully my out if warranty fix was inexpensive to repair,  The entire experience gave a bad taste in my mouth after mentioning Meade.  They make some of the best AA stuff too.

Later my friend, going out to stare at the sky..


Edited by terrypaula, 22 March 2019 - 07:46 PM.


#25 amendola

amendola

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Posted 07 April 2019 - 11:22 PM

Alright, so they adjusted the ra, and dec and sent it back. I don't expect anything good from this really. Before I sent out the mount, I measured backlash, it's now 1/3 more loose in RA, and the same in DEC. While I'm happy to have it back, it seems that it was just a big waste of time sending it in. I'll do some tests with it once the skys clear, and see what I can get, but I'm probably on my own unless the motor or motor board start acting up again. 




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