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AVX fault check list

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#1 stars n planets

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 09:12 AM

So ive picked up an celestron AVX mount today which i will be putting together tonight. Looking through the forum ive seen quite a few QC issues that are reported, with a good batch and a bad batch senario.

Can someone list me a mechanical/software, out the box check list? That way can can try addressing any issues straight off, indoors before i venture out.



My total payload will be 12Ibs. 6inch sct focal reduced guide scope and camera.

Thanks
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#2 mclewis1

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 10:06 AM

Plug in a good solid 12v power source. If the mount is used do a factory settings reset of the hand controller before anything else (and don't touch the firmware). Reload all the appropriate time/date/location data (including DST and time zone settings) ... phone time (within a minute or so) and a city in your general area from the database is fine. Check to see that the real time clock is enabled (ON). 

 

With the mount properly setup (everything bolted together, clutches snug, legs level, pointed approximately north/south, declination cable plugged into the correct points, etc.) run through a few mock initial alignments. You can do this indoors without a scope on the mount (remove the counterweight if you don't have a scope). You should see smooth predictable movements to the approximate locations of the alignment stars at that point in time (you could use solar system objects as well for this rough test ... but if you choose the sun remember to enable pointing to it first).

 

You might also change the slew speed settings and use the direction arrows to see that the mount moves smoothly to it's limits in all directions at different speeds (watch the mount carefully as you approach the limits if the scope is on it, you could drive it into a tripod leg or such).

 

Get some more info (and copies of the manuals etc.) from Mike's great site www.nexstarsite.com

If you need to ask any questions it would be good to know the firmware levels (run the Version command under the Utilities menu).


Edited by mclewis1, 12 December 2019 - 06:01 PM.

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#3 SeaBee1

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 10:20 AM

Good morning Stars! I bought my AVX right after Christmas last year, and like you, I knew that the QC issues associated with the mount could be an issue. As an electro-mechanical technician by trade, I took a deep breath and hit the purchase button. Mine worked fine right out of the box, but I knew the mount could be better. I went on a journey of improving the mechanics, an almost year long journey (available time constraints and testing opportunities introduced some lengthy delays), but after it was all said and done, the mount performs to MY expectations now. And to be honest, I would not recommend ANYONE take the journey that I took. My mount worked fine from the factory. Yours will most likely work just fine too, just follow the instructions that Mark posted and you should be good to go. But if you do have issues with it, send it back under warranty, Celestron is good for their stuff.

 

Good luck!

 

CB



#4 aa6ww

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 12:14 PM

I've also bought an Avx mount this year. I also bought the full Starsense package with GPS.

 

I've come to the conclusion that the bulk of issues and catastrophes with these mounts are user related.

 

Example.... users making changes to the settings, not really having a clue what they are doing, then something no longer works, then trying to find the solution by making more changes to setting they don't understand. It's the snowball effect. Then they come into these forums and complains their mount doesn't work.

 

Also, just over stressing their mounts without balancing. Once the clutches are locked, who knows how the balance is. So getting the mount completely balanced with the right size scope and correct counterweights is crucial to the longevity of the mount, and gears. The results are burned out motors or stripped gears.

 

Playing with wireless devices and laptops, without understanding what they are doing, the scope gets confused, settings get saved, then nothing works normally from that point on without a full factory reset.

 

Plugging cables into the wrong port, and then blaming the manufacture for having a blown motor board. This is very very common out here.

 

Under powering the mount. Letting the voltage get so low that the mount doesn't work properly, and again, this causes the user to change settings he doesn't understand, then he can't get back to where he started from.

 

Ok, so having said all that, and believe me, there are many more user situations of issues, I've come to a few conclusions on the Avx mount.

 

Be patient. You just got a new mount, so learn the mount. Go out to learn and  understand the mount, not bang through 20 objects in 20 minutes. You can do that later. Give yourself a few nights to just understanding how the mount works, so focus on the mount, not so much the sky.

 

Set up the mount, balance it, polar align it. You don't have do a polar alignment because the software can corrector for errors, at least with Starsense, but if you can do it, just do it. It just makes everything easier.

 

Mount your scope and balance it. Try your heaviest and lightest eyepieces you plan to use and find that center point so the scope should stay balanced, regardless of what eyepiece you use.

 

Read the manual. It won't make much sense the first time around, but read it anyways.

Watch any of the horrible video's people put out on the mount. Any exposure is still exposure and something will sink in you weren't aware of. Save all those videos links because you'll go back to them again after the light turns on and you may wanna go back and check or review something.

 

Learn how it all works with the hand controller first. The hand controller works and its reliable. It doesn't ever need a firmware upgrade if you just use the mount and hand controller. Once you start connecting it to wireless devices, or a laptop, everything has to be constantly updated. So just start with the hand controller so  you can make sure the mount works as expected before moving onto wireless devices or even wired or wireless laptops. The coiled cord on the hand controller is very short. Buy an extension cord from Scope Stuff if  you want a longer one. Don't make your own, don't use one from another hand controller. This is how you ruin your motors or boards.

 

 

Try out one thing at a time, and make sure you understand what you're doing. Find that section in the manual and go over it. Know how to change the settings in that area, understand what the settings are for, and understand how to get back to your starting point. When you're done for the day, watch a use video on that subject if you can find one, and it will probably make much more sense now. The next day, do the same thing again till it becomes second nature, then move onto the next section.

 

Read the hand controller display, lots of info is presented on that display. Just don't start pressing buttons. The instructions on how to move around in any section are usually right there on the display as it explains what to do next. Get out the manual and see what those settings are used for. If you wear glasses, make sure they are strong enough. The hand controller display is small and dim. I bought a 5 pack of 4x glasses on Amazon and hand them out to my friends who are always struggling in the dark to read displays and computers screens in the dark. Of course these are worthless when looking up at the sky.

 

What you'll find out with the manual, is that there are only really about 5 or 6 pages of the manual that really matters to the user. The manual is less scary once you realize this, but you also won't realize this until you read it a few times and try things out.

 

The bottom line here, is just be smart. Understand what you are doing. Don't shoot from the hip. These mounts are incredibly accurate and reliable. Notice the many out here who own them, and never complain about them. These are usually the users who are well known, intelligent, and understand equipment and astronomy very very well. Be one of those guys.

 

I have at least one friend who's absolutely intimated by the Avx mount, thinking its just to complicated and unreliable to use. That's too bad but I'm also sure that's not uncommon also.

 

Finally, remember your biggest resource, these forums. Ask when you get stuck or have a question. People are smart out here, they will gladly help you.

 

 

...Good luck and clear skies.

 

 

 ....Ralph


Edited by aa6ww, 12 December 2019 - 12:15 PM.

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#5 stars n planets

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 01:49 PM

Thanks Ralph for a great logical breakdown of a learning curve which sounds like you have been through.
Ive put it all together and mounted the tube. Balance and tried motions on both axis. All seems good. Updated time, date and location. So far so good.😁 ...next check out what all these things mean in the menu

#6 SkipW

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 03:47 PM

There's good advice here and you'll be fine!

 

When you do the alignment and calibration procedure, even though it's optional, always include calibration stars; use all four calibration stars if at all possible.

 

If you're sure the location is set fairly close (and in the right hemispheres!) and the time is within a few minutes of actual but still find that it doesn't seem to work right "under the stars" BE SURE you have aligned and calibrated centering on the correct star. If you select, say, Castor but actually center Pollux all bets are off (personally, I avoid using these two because it's too easy to mix them up). Select a different star if you're not sure which one you're supposed to use!



#7 Don W

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 05:26 PM

I've been using a number of Nexstar based mounts since they first came out. Haven't had any problems with my AVX (or SLT, SE, Evolution or CGX). I just set them up properly and go. As far as the AVX is concerned, I can do short exposure imaging (EAA) with little or no effort using a fast refractor or even Hyperstar. Works fine for my use. For better accuracy and a larger load, the CGX is just the ticket.



#8 mclewis1

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 06:05 PM

For some reason when I read the OP's first post I assumed a used mount (so I mentioned the Factory Settings reset). With a brand new mount that of course wouldn't be required.

 

It really is very very rare to have problems with a brand new mount. Celestron sells tons of these things and yes when you read through these threads you can get the impression that there are lots of QC issues but you are really very unlikely to ever see a problem.


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#9 HarryBnBad

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 09:27 PM

I got mine last x-mas. I have only gotten better with it as time goes on.

That was some great info. Yep, I find taking my time, and small repeatable increases of usage. Every few times I go out I try to learn a different feature, and go through its paces for a few nights. And yes re-watch those videos and re-read the manual. It really does start making sense.

Good luck.

#10 SkipW

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 09:44 PM

...when you read through these threads you can get the impression that there are lots of QC issues but you are really very unlikely to ever see a problem.

Agreed.

 

I'm personally familiar with about a dozen of them and only one seems to really have problems. That one was bought used by someone who has had another AVX since they first came out, but unlike his original one, this one doesn't have accurate Go-Tos. It looks like it has led a hard life, though, with a seriously bent Az adjustment bolt and broken hand controller leg clamp, most likely from rough handling in shipping (he said it was poorly packed when he received it), and there's rust on some of the exposed bolt heads, suggesting that it's been wet. Maybe it was a poor performer out of the box. Who knows?

 

Two others complained about their mounts' pointing accuracy (or lack thereof), but when helped through the alignment and calibration procedure by someone more experienced, they both pointed quite well, so the initial problems were probably user error.



#11 Tom Stock

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 10:35 PM

Mine has worked perfectly since day 1. I have no desire to replace bearings or do anything.. no problems at all very happy with it.

 

Maybe the early ones had some issues, but they appear to have cleared that up.

 

Be very careful not to plug into the wrong port, and be aware that the power socket is a bit fragile. I run mine from a 12V SLA battery 90% of the time, but a cheap 12V laptop power supply works fine too.


Edited by Tom Stock, 12 December 2019 - 10:36 PM.


#12 astrofun

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 09:20 AM

I like my AVX which I bought new a couple years ago. I haven't modded anything. I had it set up a few nights ago with my SV102T in -20C. I was worried it might not work well due to stiff grease or something, but I need not to have been concerned. I made sure everything was well balanced and did a good polar alignment with the polar scope in the polar axis. I did the 2 star alignment along with a couple calibration stars. I have a good 12v power tank for it and it worked perfectly for the 3 hours I was out, putting objects close to center in the fov of a 14mm Meade UWA eyepiece.

Doug


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#13 Danoglide63

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:27 AM

Good to see a lot of people are having good results from their AVX. I have one too, it's been working great until the last 4 or 5 outings. It works great and will take 4 to 5 minutes exposures guided by PHD2 but the next time I can't get a good 30 sec exposure. I've ran off my Celestron power tank and the battery of my truck. I'm receiving the 5 amp 110v power supply today to see if that makes a difference. I do the same set up each time, 2 star alignment 4 star calibrate ASAP. I always go up and right to center each star. I have reset to factory settings. I have gone to Menu, Tracking, Turn off Tracking, Turn on Tracking North EQ. The tripos is set level. Now then there's the DEC cable, I haven't tried to test it yet but if it's bad what kind of cable is it? Looks like a RJ45 Cat 6 cable, does anybody know for sure? I have posted a ticket at Celestron Support, no idea ow long till I receive a reply, the holiday is approaching.

 

Thanks,

Dano



#14 SkipW

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 01:27 PM

Good to see a lot of people are having good results from their AVX. I have one too, it's been working great until the last 4 or 5 outings. It works great and will take 4 to 5 minutes exposures guided by PHD2 but the next time I can't get a good 30 sec exposure. I've ran off my Celestron power tank and the battery of my truck. I'm receiving the 5 amp 110v power supply today to see if that makes a difference. I do the same set up each time, 2 star alignment 4 star calibrate ASAP. I always go up and right to center each star. I have reset to factory settings. I have gone to Menu, Tracking, Turn off Tracking, Turn on Tracking North EQ. The tripos is set level. Now then there's the DEC cable, I haven't tried to test it yet but if it's bad what kind of cable is it? Looks like a RJ45 Cat 6 cable, does anybody know for sure? I have posted a ticket at Celestron Support, no idea ow long till I receive a reply, the holiday is approaching.

 

Thanks,

Dano

Although this looks like this was posted first, you already have several replies about this issue in the AVX problems thread you created.

 

It's usually best if help for a particular problem is requested in one place only. Otherwise you may get duplicated suggestions, and some answers here and some there.



#15 SonnyE

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:58 PM

"I've come to the conclusion that the bulk of issues and catastrophes with these mounts are user related."

 

What Cloudy Nights needs is an Unlike Button, because I take great exceptions to saying my problems with my AVX (now defunct, but sold to a friend who needed the head for hardware) are User Related.

I ordered and used the recommended Celestron AC adapter with my AVX from day one. It crapped out on day 11 and both the vendor and Amazon Prime walked away. Celestron, through their own faults took a month to get it back to me.

It then worked for 5 months, and crapped again. Down an additional month.

After that, it got only 12 volt battery power. Because battery power is pure DC power. Adapters can and will pass bad power line harmonics. And I nursed it along until it, once again, crapped out.

Purely and fully due to the junk Chinese components used in the electronics of the mount.

 

Of 6 Friends of mine who bought AVX mounts, 3 suffered my same losses. I being the last of us who was still actually using the mount.

A 50% failure rate in that sampling is certainly NOT User Related.

 

But further than the AVX, the same NexStar electronics are apparent in a wide variety of Celestron mounts across Europe with the same failures as well.

 

So you are entitled to your opinion. I'm entitled to mine as well, You got Lucky, and you are also full of what is found on the floor in dairies.



#16 mclewis1

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 09:06 AM

No, strictly based on numbers you got unlucky. There are many many thousands of these mounts and others with similar electronics in operation every night. They run on a whole variety of power sources (batteries of every size, AC adapters of all sorts of brands and capabilities) ... no problems.

 

Can there be small clusters of problems? Sure it happens for a variety of reasons. When it does you get to hold Celestron's feet to the fire if they don't take care of you as a customer, but the products are basically sound ... the numbers prove it.

 

IMHO (from a ton of experience over the past 18 years directly with friends and through conversations here on CN and other boards) is that quote - "I've come to the conclusion that the bulk of issues and catastrophes with these mounts are user related." is accurate. Bulk = most ... not all.


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