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AZEQ6 GT Stiffness in RA and vibration in RA Axis Movement (unpowered)

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#1 WicklowSkies76

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 04:04 AM

Hi there. I recently purchased a used AZEQ6 GT mount with a C11 XLT and had it shipped over from the UK to Ireland, so I didn't get a chance to validate it's in perfect working order before making the purchase although I have every reason to believe it was based on interaction with the seller.

 

While getting used to the setup (crikey it's enormous and heavy) and using it without any power (I do not have a power solution as yet) I noticed that the RA movement is quite stiff regardless of whether the scope is mounted or not. I've taken the RA clutch off completely and even at that, it's as though it's somehow in a tight grip, as it takes a good pull/push to get it moving in RA and you can hear the friction noise as it frees itself to swing in either direction when you move it. Once it gets moving it's relatively smooth but it does not move freely and requires quite a bit of force. Also when the C11 is mounted and I try to move the scope up and down on the RA Axis, there's a really loud vibration, particularly on the way down. A vibration you can feel also. It's almost like it stutters its way down and shakes.

 

It's almost as though everything is super tight. Is this normal when the setup is being moved manually (without power?). I have ordered a power supply and am really hoping this is a non issue when the mount is electronically controlled but it does have me worried. Any insights welcome. Will I need to consider having the mount repaired to free up the RA movement?


Edited by WicklowSkies76, 24 June 2019 - 04:06 AM.


#2 luxo II

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 04:43 AM

Should not be like that - I’d take it to a dealer for maintenance because if it needs parts that’s not a DIY job.

Once the R.A. clutch is loose it should swing freely and silently. Same for dec.
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#3 WicklowSkies76

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 08:13 AM

Oh dear.  shocked.gif 

Here's a quick video illustration of what I mean.

 

https://1drv.ms/v/s!...3u2KLQ?e=gowkEe

 

Would it be unadvisable to test slewing when powered based on this? I'm guessing it's just going to put too much strain on the motors or they may not be even able to move it?



#4 PirateMike

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 09:56 AM

I have the same mount, except mine is sold by Orion in the US. Both mounts are exactly the same and made at the same factory. There is no difference between these mounts other than the color and the names printed on them.

 

 

You can fix your current problem as long as shaft that passes through the base is not bent, but I suspect that it isn't because you state that it swings freely once the initial resistance is broken.

 

20170507_013205 small.jpg    20170507_013137 small.jpg

 

 

 

When I first purchased it new it worked like a total lemon. I fixed it up by correcting the issues it had and now I can track the stars at +/- 0.5 arcsec all night long. cool.gif

 

I can help you fix your problem and make the mount work exceptionally well.

 

Here is an example of how well my mount performs. It's not perfect, but then it didn't cost $10,000... http://www.astrobin....0/0/?real=&mod=

 

 

 

 

First thing to do is to clean the current thrust bearings and their pair of races so that they are ready for a re-greasing. Don't use any chemical cleaner to do this, dish detergent and hot water is all you should use along with an old toothbrush or something similar. After the washing make sure that you rinse the parts really really good. You don't want any traces of the soap left on the parts that could eventually degrade the new grease.

 

 

 

Do a good visual inspection while taking the mount apart.

 

I use a grease that is very good for this application , but it is quite expensive, If you can easily afford this grease than please purchase a squeeze tube. If you rather not spend so much money on such a small amount of grease that is fine. Get something else, something that is very thin, thin to the point that it appears that it is getting close to being and oil".

 

Start with these instructions and if possible post a lot of photos as you go along so I can have a look at the mounts condition. You have a used mount, who knows what the previous owner did to it to try to get it to work properly.

 

 

I'll be following along and I'll be available at any time to assist you (if you want my help) with this issue.

 

Let me know if you have any questions or problems. And remember... a picture is worth a thousand words so please post as many as you like.. waytogo.gif

 

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 24 June 2019 - 10:31 AM.

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#5 PirateMike

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 10:49 AM

ATTENTION... ATTENTION... WARNING... WARNING!

 

I just thought of something else that you need to check before you do anything.

 

Since you live in Ireland you probably have the mount pointing nearly straight up. I live at 18* north, so my mount points much closer to horizontal.

 

Please point the mount as horizontal as you can and check the sticking problem again.

 

When the mount is used in the far northern latitudes, it is possible that the weight of the head acts much like an engaged clutch lever.

 

If everything is actually fine with the mount and the effect of gravity pulling the head down and causing the sticking then there is nothing to be done other than for you to accept that this is the way it is.

 

You could add a spring (actually a bellville washer or similar system) to the clutch system, but doing this requires the work of a machinist.

 

I just might do it for myself, just for the challenge in making it work. I'll let you know if I do fix this issue so that it is no longer a problem.

 

Question... Are you a machinist by any chance? smile.gif

 

 

Miguel  8-)

.


Edited by PirateMike, 24 June 2019 - 11:17 AM.

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#6 WicklowSkies76

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 10:55 AM

 Thank you Miguel for your kind offer of assistance & the follow up info. I really appreciate that. I may have no choice but to try to do this myself as I don't know of anywhere in Ireland that could do an assessment or repair job. Dark Frame in the Mainland UK seem to be the only one I know of. I guess I could ship the mount head over but that's more expense I hadn't counted on.

 

When I get the power supply, I will test the slewing and see what that looks like. Based on how stiff it all 'feels' I am not expecting that to go well but I just don't know what that is going to be like until I try it. I have tried the RA movement with the mount horizontal and it's still pretty stiff. Once the resistance is broken it's smooth but it doesn't still move freely.



#7 PirateMike

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 11:41 AM

No problem with helping you, I live for this kind of stuff.

 

Don't worry about a power supply now as slewing requires that the base and the RA axis are "stuck" together. Any movement between to two will degrade how well the mount can track.

 

Please don't even consider sending the mount anywhere. This is easy to do for just about anyone. If you feel that you don't have enough skill to do such a job then I will help you while keeping that in mind.

 

Even with the mount pointing mostly horizontal, the RA will not swing completely free, there will always be a little resistance. Has the resistance been noticeably reduced? Is the clutch lever completely released?

 

 

 

 

I use this power supply, it works fantastically. But I don't know if you can get on in Ireland, one that can be used in Europe.

 

Power Supply.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 24 June 2019 - 11:46 AM.

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#8 PirateMike

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 12:07 PM

Can you post a video like the other one you posted except one that shows...

 

1. the mount pointing horizontally..

 

2. then you loosening the clutch completely

 

3. the counter weight bar fully out

 

4. you moving the counter weight bar so that it is in a horizontal position

 

5. finally, you letting go of the counter weight bar

 

 

 

The first thing that I would like to verify in the video is that the RA is as required. The mount in a nearly horizontal position and that the clutch is actually completely loose. If everything is as it should be then the test setup requirements have been met.

 

Now to perform the test.

Move the counter weight bar to the horizontal position then release it. Gravity should be able to pull it down back to vertical.

 

 

If the counter weight bar doesn't go back to vertical, or nearly vertical then the mount needs to be fixed and we need to go back to post #4.

 

Can you do this at some time?

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 24 June 2019 - 12:15 PM.

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#9 EFT

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 03:31 PM

This is not at all uncommon with these mounts.  I have worked on a good number of them now and it is always the same.  The straight up position that your mount is in will accentuate the problem. 

 

The clutch mechanism in this mount is a compression system.  In order to lock the axis in place, the clutch knob at the end of each shaft pulls the axis head inward effectively shortening the axis stack (bearings, spacers, etc.).  Most of the components are metal, like the bearings, but one component has to be compressible for this to work.  In this case it is a fiber disk located between the axis head and the worm wheel.  Applying pressure to the fiber disk is what locks the axis in place for slewing and tracking while lessening the pressure releases the axis so that it can turn free of the worm.  The problem comes down to the fact that the worm wheel, fiber disk, and axis head are always in contact so that there is always friction that causes the axes to be stiff.  In the straight up position, the entire weight of the mount head and the load on the mount is pressing straight down the RA axis causing even more pressure on the fiber disk making the axis even more stiff.  The sound in the video suggests to me that the axis is probably stuck on the fiber disk and then slipping as you move the axis further (there could be other explanations but they are not particularly likely unless someone has tinkered with the mount).

 

The Losmandy mounts have the same problem although they switch from a fiber disk to a plastic disk which is a little more slippery than the fiber disk, but still compressible.  But it is hard to solidly lock the axes in place because of this.  However, that is not really a problem because you never want to completely lock the axes anyways.  If you look at the fiber disk in the AZEQ6 you will see that it is "polished" by being compressed between aluminum and brass surfaces.  However, that polish still does not make it as smooth as plastic.

 

It might be interesting to try some kind of plastic disk in there and see if that improves anything (I would do so, but I only keep Teflon around and that would be too slippery).  But besides trying that, there really isn't a lot that can be done about this.  While it does provide some benefits, cleaning the mount out does not solve this problem.  In addition, the problem on the RA gets worse the higher up you have the mount pointed based on your latitude.

 

One thing I am not sure of is what position you actually have the mount in.  Is it Alt/Az?  It looks like it from the video.  If that is the case, then you really don't need to worry about how stiff the RA axis is with the clutch released.  In that configuration, there will always be a substantial amount of pressure being put on the fiber disk, but since you are not balancing in RA, it doesn't matter.  With the RA clutch engaged, the only thing of importance is that the axis is able to turn on it needle roller bearings since the worm wheel stays in place and does not move.  This, by itself, is generally not a problem.


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#10 PirateMike

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 04:57 PM

Hello Ed,

 

I'm glad that you entered the conversation.

 

I am concerned that something is not quite right with the OP's RA axis. He did purchase it used, and who knows what was done to it by the previous owner, or the owner before that, or the owner before ..... Who knows how many owners this mount has gone through.

 

If the OP does the test described in post #8, and if the cw shaft falls to vertical, then the issue he is having must be as we both pointed out. But if the CW shaft doe not fall to vertical, or has a hard time to do so, then there must be some other issue involved. Do you agree my assessment?

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


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#11 EFT

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 06:01 PM

It's a little difficult to make that decision at this point.  You may be correct that there could be something wrong if the mount behaves exactly the same way with less weight pressing straight down parallel to the axis.  These mounts are pretty consistently stiff, but there is very little in the axis train that can be wrong and cause it to be stiff other than the bearings being messed up.  If they are messed up, then when the RA is lowered or parallel to the floor, that should become fairly obvious since the turning of the axis will feel more rough than stiff.


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#12 PirateMike

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 12:08 PM

It's a little difficult to make that decision at this point.  You may be correct that there could be something wrong if the mount behaves exactly the same way with less weight pressing straight down parallel to the axis.  These mounts are pretty consistently stiff, but there is very little in the axis train that can be wrong and cause it to be stiff other than the bearings being messed up.  If they are messed up, then when the RA is lowered or parallel to the floor, that should become fairly obvious since the turning of the axis will feel more rough than stiff.

The bearing , the races  and how both are sitting in the mount is exactly what I would like to see. Maybe one race was lost at some time or maybe both races were put on the same side of the bearing. Like you said, "who knows"?

 

At minimum, if it were me, I would change the grease and do an inspection

 

I use this now for grease...

 

Krytox GPL 207.jpg

 

 

It is costly for grease, but it seems to be working very nicely. When putting it in my mount I could see that it wouldn't "let go" of the bearing or races.

 

Instead of being pushed out of the way by the pins and ending up on the outer edges of the races like other greases, it seemed to stick to the pins. Really cool stuff. Very little goes a long way!

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 26 June 2019 - 01:01 AM.

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#13 EFT

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 01:25 PM

The bearings in the mount are all roller or taper bearings.  Missing one of the races from a roller bearing would shorten up the axis and could be a problem due to rubbing the axis on the housing, but it would otherwise still work because the above and below surfaces are still flat.

 

Of course, I use and recommend Superlube.  It does very well, is basically non-toxic, and it is inexpensive.


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#14 WicklowSkies76

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 03:49 PM

Umm. Ok thanks guys for all of the really helpful input. I bought a PSU today and plugged in the mount. I may have been panicking over nothing. It works seemingly perfect when driven electronically. Have a look and let me know what you think?

https://1drv.ms/v/s!...tbZ3GXe6GlOGMcA

https://1drv.ms/v/s!...uCFOTd5Z-yiQ2Fg
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#15 EFT

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 04:41 PM

The mount definitely needs a good power supply and the EQ6 size mounts tend to like a bit over 12 volts.  But in this case, the mount should have no problem slewing.  The movement when slewing is completely different from when it is being balanced with the clutches released.  When slewing, everything is locked together and the worm moves the entire assembly as one piece.  When balancing, the axis is separated into two pieces, the worm wheel in contact with the worm and remainder of the axis including the head, shaft, and locking ring.  So a mount can slew well without being able to be easily balanced.  It is the balancing problem that runs into the problem with the fiber clutch disk.

 

While the mount is slewing fine in your videos, I would generally recommend to not slew the mount completely unbalanced or extremely out of the balance (e.g., no counterweight).  It doesn't give you the best idea of how the mount really works and it does place a lot more stress on the components and electronics.


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#16 PirateMike

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 01:00 AM

The mount sounds fine. But I almost had a heart attack when watching the counter weight shaft going up past horizontal to almost vertical. Going a little past horizontal is not an issue but you went way past it.

 

The mount can sound just fine, and still not track so well. The real test will be when you start taking images under the stars.

 

I'm happy for you that the mount appears to be just fine. Two thumbs up!

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


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#17 WicklowSkies76

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 04:04 AM

The mount definitely needs a good power supply and the EQ6 size mounts tend to like a bit over 12 volts.  But in this case, the mount should have no problem slewing.  The movement when slewing is completely different from when it is being balanced with the clutches released.  When slewing, everything is locked together and the worm moves the entire assembly as one piece.  When balancing, the axis is separated into two pieces, the worm wheel in contact with the worm and remainder of the axis including the head, shaft, and locking ring.  So a mount can slew well without being able to be easily balanced.  It is the balancing problem that runs into the problem with the fiber clutch disk.

 

While the mount is slewing fine in your videos, I would generally recommend to not slew the mount completely unbalanced or extremely out of the balance (e.g., no counterweight).  It doesn't give you the best idea of how the mount really works and it does place a lot more stress on the components and electronics.

Thanks. Yes I completely understand what you mean. You see, I am a complete beginner with this mount and didn't realise that the stiffness in the RA movement would not manifest itself as an issue when slewing as everything is locked together for that part as you say. I am thrilled the mount slews with no issues, however your point about balancing is well made. With the stiffness in RA it does make it difficult for me to accurately balance the setup as even when slightly imbalanced, it will not move given the RA is so stiff, it just stays in position. Luckily the previous owners marked out some black lines on the counter weight shaft so I can start there. My setup won't be much different. A C11 XLT with a Neximage or maybe some different eyepieces.

 

Thanks so much for the help and input. I think I am going to leave the mount as-is, continue to learn the movement and stick to observing and start getting my feet wet with planetary imaging with the Neximage 5. This can be done in either EQ or AltAz mode as I won't need accurate tracking for the moment. With that said, I don't want to damage the mount by overworking it on a badly balanced setup.



#18 WicklowSkies76

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 04:08 AM

The mount sounds fine. But I almost had a heart attack when watching the counter weight shaft going up past horizontal to almost vertical. Going a little past horizontal is not an issue but you went way past it.

 

The mount can sound just fine, and still not track so well. The real test will be when you start taking images under the stars.

 

I'm happy for you that the mount appears to be just fine. Two thumbs up!

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

Hehe lol.gif  yes that was not wise. As I mentioned above, I am a complete beginner with this mount so only getting to grips with how it moves and where it's supposed to move to etc. I mounted the C11 with some accessories last night and tested the movement. Everything seems fine. I won't be doing any long exposure AP anytime soon, I only have a C11 for planetary imaging with a Neximage 5 so I can live with inaccuracies in the tracking for the moment, although it might be just fine already. I have a lot to learn with the setup for visual and planetary so that should keep me occupied for a long time yet before I get the bug to get into 80mm refractor AP territory.

 

Thanks so much again for the help and input. I have learned so much valuable information from you and the other posters - so huge thanks for your kind input.


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#19 PirateMike

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 08:30 AM

It is a pleasure to help out a fellow AP'er, especially one who can take in some information and use it to solve their particular issue.

 

I have a couple of questions about your plans....

 

Do you already have the 80mm scope? If you do then I would recommend starting with that scope first.

 

Will you be using the hand controller to control the mount or are you planning on using a computer?

 

 

If you find yourself "stuck" on an issue, please don't hesitate to ask for assistance.

 

 

Good Luck and Go Get'em,

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 26 June 2019 - 08:32 AM.

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#20 PirateMike

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 08:35 AM

Of course, I use and recommend Superlube.  It does very well, is basically non-toxic, and it is inexpensive.

 I tried Superlube but it doesn't last too long when leaving the mount out in the sun for weeks on end.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.



#21 WicklowSkies76

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 08:44 AM

I don't have the 80mm scope yet. I procrastinated for about 12 months about whether or not I wanted to do planetary or deep sky, eventually when I got a good deal on the AZEQ6-GT and C11 that made my mind up! I realise that for AP, the 80mm refractor would be the best way to begin. I won't even attempt DSO AP with the C11 on the AZEQ6-GT. It's not suitable.

 

For the existing setup, my focus will be purely planetary imaging. I have the C11, Telrad Finder, 50mm spotting scope, the mount, a Neximage 5, Astrozap Dewshield, Barlows, diagonals, eyepieces, a DSLR, a laptop and all the required cables. I expect my 'first light' will be visual. It's been cloudy for 2 weeks solid since I got the gear. It's not an easy setup to use and I am not sure how to polar align properly as yet although I have read plenty.

 

I am hoping that, with some rough enough polar alignment...

 

  1. Set up & point the mount north
  2. Set 52 degree latitude on mount
  3. Jump into 3 star alignment - tweak as needed
  4. Then use GoTo & track

...that I can get going imaging planets. If my alignment doesn't go to plan I will just hand-adjust the controller. I have read that for Jupiter and the Neximage 5, I won't need a Barlow with the C11 and I only need to capture video for a minute or so, so I might be able to keep it in the frame for that distance using hand control?

 

If I get "first light" this weekend I will share my results. I expect them to be quite poor as Jupiter doesn't get high enough over the horizon to enable a good picture so my seeing will be terrible. I am just learning the process for now. Hopefully the planets will get higher as the summer moves on.

 

Any tips on polar alignment would be welcome. I don't need it to be super-precise I am hoping for planetary. If there is anything missing from my steps above please let me know?


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#22 elmiko

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 10:47 AM

Gentleman, is it possible that the little grub screws are too tight? The ones that adjust backlash slop?

Just curious. I have the Orion version of this mount.

Mike


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#23 WicklowSkies76

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 11:20 AM

Gentleman, is it possible that the little grub screws are too tight? The ones that adjust backlash slop?

Just curious. I have the Orion version of this mount.

Mike

Anything is possible :) which screws are they exactly on the mount so I can check?



#24 elmiko

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 12:02 PM

There are two on each side of the ra head and the dec head. They are small in those recessed holes. You have to loosen the four large screws slightly before you can loosen or tighten the small recessed screws. Dont turn them too much. They adjust the play in each axis.



#25 PirateMike

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 02:15 AM

Gentleman, is it possible that the little grub screws are too tight? The ones that adjust backlash slop?

Just curious. I have the Orion version of this mount.

Mike

Those two screws are there to adjust the mesh of the gears and really don't have anything to do with either axis binding if/when the clutches are disengaged.

 

They need to be adjusted when the gears bind or when there is too much back lash.

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


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