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Need to verify SkyGuider Pro is not damaged

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#1 Paul in Northern Michigan

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 11:35 AM

A couple nights ago I ran into a lot of futility and pain attempting my 1st use of the SkyGuider Pro.

 

I could not unlock the clutch.  After clamping my finger in the tripod vise the pain and frustration had me rotating the declination bracket independent of the clutch wheel.

 

I finally removed the declination bracket and was able to span a couple spokes of the clutch wheel with pliers to get it loose.

 

In putting this back together I am able to tighten the clutch and the declination arm is tight in the clockwise direction.  The only thing I worry about is that I don't remember the declination arm being fairly loose in the counter clockwise direction.  It can be kind of tight, but takes very little to push it loose in the counter clockwise direction.

 

I just want to be sure that I didn't inadvertantly break something. 

 

For sanity sake could someone help me determine whether the SkyGuider is still OK?



#2 rgsalinger

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 11:39 AM

Call support and see what they say. If you get no answer in 48 hours return the mount. The more you monkey with it that more you are likely to damage it. Now if you have an ME from MSU, ignore this advice.

Rgrds-Ross



#3 DubbelDerp

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 11:43 AM

Something isn't making sense to me. The declination bracket, once mounted to the SGP base, will rotate in one direction with the clutch locked? That shouldn't happen unless the clutch is slipping. The worm gear should be meshing with the main gear and prevent any motion unless the clutch is slipping. How much are you tightening the clutch? Just finger tight, or are you using some kind of tool?



#4 fishonkevin

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:08 PM

There's a huge thread in Mounts concerning the SGP.  Have you seen it?  There may be some answers there.



#5 Paul in Northern Michigan

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:12 PM

DubbelDerp:  Perhaps I've used some misleading terminology.  I'm not super great at describing things.

 

So if I remove the declination bracket what is left is the mounting block and the clutch.

 

SkyGuider

 

My clutch wheel with it's spokes is locked into position.

 

The red mounting block on top of this however can rotate in the counter clockwise direction.  My only concern is that from memory the mounting seemed to be a lot tighter.  Even though it isn't completely loose.

 

So yes the declination arm "can" rotate independent of the clutch.  It can be snug tightened to where it doesn't spin free; I am just wondering whether I lost some of the original tightness.



#6 Paul in Northern Michigan

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:15 PM

There's a huge thread in Mounts concerning the SGP.  Have you seen it?  There may be some answers there.

I believe I did see the thread you are speaking of.  I read 5 pages in and nothing was discussed yet on issues with the sky guider pro.  I could certainly finish through the thread but it didn't seem to be aimed towards troubleshooting.


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#7 bobzeq25

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:23 PM

Call support and see what they say. If you get no answer in 48 hours return the mount. The more you monkey with it that more you are likely to damage it. Now if you have an ME from MSU, ignore this advice.

Rgrds-Ross

Note that with iOptron, you don't call, you email.

 

They're very responsive to those, I've gotten responses at night and on weekends.  They pretty much don't answer calls.  That can be a benefit, it means that they're not interrupting _your_ work to answer the phone.


Edited by bobzeq25, 17 January 2020 - 12:24 PM.


#8 44maurer

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:31 PM

I’m not following, but I will say this about mine. When the clutch is “finger” tightened, meaning you never over tighten these, it will not rotate in either direction. 
 

I do have a very small amount/distance that it’ll move, but very, very small and definitely wouldn’t call it rotating. 



#9 Mako72

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:32 PM

Definately contact iOptron.

Here's some behind the clutch pics mmalik posted if you're curious as to what it looks like behind the clutch: 

https://www.cloudyni...dilemma/page-13


Edited by Mako72, 17 January 2020 - 12:32 PM.

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#10 DubbelDerp

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 01:35 PM

I'm wondering if it got some grease in the clutch mechanism. It can slip if the plate isn't tightened enough, but it's a pretty solid friction clutch when it's "locked." It might be worth taking off the red nosepiece, threading off the clutch plate, and giving it a good cleaning. If it got some grease in there, I could see it slipping under a bit of force.

 

If you do want to take off the nosepiece and give it a good cleaning, you'll need a fine hex wrench, like a 1.5mm, and back off the two set screws locking it in place. Then it'll spin off the threads. This is one of the screws that needs to be loosened (not removed), the other is on the other side of the nosepiece.

IMG_8065.jpg

 

Once you remove the nosepiece, the clutch plate also will thread off the main shaft, followed by a spacer, a needle bearing, and the main gear. Here's the parts from when I disassembled and cleaned mine.. just put it back together in the same order as removed.

IMG_8061.jpg


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#11 DubbelDerp

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 01:50 PM

But if you can turn on the unit and slew the mount with the control buttons, it's probably not broken. As to why the clutch plate got stuck the first night in the cold, and why it's not fully locking with the plate tightened... I'd guess that there's some gunk in the mechanism that stuck the plate in the cold, and is causing it to slip with the plate tightened at room temperature. Dirty factory grease, perhaps? If nothing else, if you remove the nosepiece, it's a good opportunity to fine-tune the orientation of the reticle so that it's vertical when the counterweight shaft is vertical. 



#12 Paul in Northern Michigan

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 01:51 PM

I tried a chat session on the iOptron site.  They suggested that there definitely is an issue.

 

I have followed up by e-mailing support.

 

I am not in a "super" rush given the season, but am really hoping that I will not be out the cash that I spent.

 

I purchased this from Amazon.



#13 DubbelDerp

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 02:02 PM

Their support is really good. I had a problem with the motor in mine last summer, and I had to send it in for warranty service. They replaced the motor the day they received it and it was back on my doorstep the next day.

#14 John Boudreau

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 02:43 PM

The red DEC bracket mounting flange shown in your photo in post #5 is internally threaded and screws onto the black RA shaft. In your problem's description, it sounds like that red DEC bracket flange is unscrewing from the RA shaft --- that would result in a CCW rotation when viewed from the front of the SGP as in post #5.

 

When properly threaded and tightened to the RA shaft, the red DEC flange is secured by 2 Allen screws located on the red DEC flange just above the clutch plate (one of them is circled in yellow in post #10's first pic). If those Allen screws have come loose, with your clutch plate tightened your DEC flange can be easily rotated CCW as it will actually be unscrewing from the RA shaft, but won't turn CW as the DEC flange's threads bottom out on the end of the RA shaft.

 

So I think those 2 Allen screws have loosened a bit and may have 'skidded' a bit along the RA shaft surface. They require a 2mm wrench--- at least mine did. With the clutch tightened, I'd actually loosen them a bit more at first and then lightly tighten the DEC flange CW (to be sure it's bottomed out against the end of the RA shaft). Then tighten those 2 Allen screws --- they tighten against a zone on the RA shaft where the shaft's threads have been machined away so you won't be damaging the RA shaft threads, but be careful as screws that small should only be reasonably snug--- don't 'crank' them down!

 

BTW--- I just checked all this out on my own SGP. Be sure you have a properly fitting Allen wrench though.


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#15 Paul in Northern Michigan

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 03:57 PM

I will have to head out shortly but I wanted to say that iOptron support already returned an e-mail and it appears this problem can be troubleshot.

 

Crossing fingers.


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#16 Paul in Northern Michigan

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 06:05 PM

Knock on wood the problem is solved.

 

John:  You described exactly what the issue was and how to counter this.  I appreciate your chiming in.

 

iOptron gave me a PDF that went through about 5 steps to troubleshoot the issue and this was #1.

 

I do wish iOptron sent this specific Allen wrench with their guider.  Most likely John is correct about the Allen wrench needing to be 2mm.  I can't verify because I found an Allen wrench just laying around that wasn't part of a set.  Ironically they do include the larger sized Allen wrench in the shipped package.

 

I believe somewhere at my house at Michigan I have a set of foldable Allen wrenches that I could just keep with my vehicle or the SkyGuider Pro.  Eventually I'd like to get a carrying case for my iOptron and the tripod so I may keep it in there when I do this.

 

It is very good to know how responsive iOptron is.  Bob you were correct.

 

I now am waiting for another decent shooting night before I leave Ohio.

 

Now if I could find a way to dig Polaris out of sky given my location.


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#17 Paul in Northern Michigan

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 08:38 PM

I'm wondering if it got some grease in the clutch mechanism. It can slip if the plate isn't tightened enough, but it's a pretty solid friction clutch when it's "locked." It might be worth taking off the red nosepiece, threading off the clutch plate, and giving it a good cleaning. If it got some grease in there, I could see it slipping under a bit of force.

 

If you do want to take off the nosepiece and give it a good cleaning, you'll need a fine hex wrench, like a 1.5mm, and back off the two set screws locking it in place. Then it'll spin off the threads. This is one of the screws that needs to be loosened (not removed), the other is on the other side of the nosepiece.

attachicon.gifIMG_8065.jpg

 

Once you remove the nosepiece, the clutch plate also will thread off the main shaft, followed by a spacer, a needle bearing, and the main gear. Here's the parts from when I disassembled and cleaned mine.. just put it back together in the same order as removed.

attachicon.gifIMG_8061.jpg

DubbelDerp:  It is good to see that this unit isn't a throw away if there are issues.  Even the iOptron document showed many options of troubleshooting with the entire unit opened up.

 

In the real world environment there are many things that can happen.  For being so small it is great that it can be worked on and there likely may be a day that I'll need to do just as you've needed to do.



#18 Seaquel47

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 09:47 PM

As I read thru this post I felt like John had diagnosed the problem, so I am glad to see that fixed the problem.  I had the problem that it took excessive force to lock the RA and then it was next to impossible to unlock.  iOptron gave me detailed instructions to disassemble the RA as shown in Dubbeldurp's pictures and use alcohol to clean the grease off of the friction plate.  There was a lot of grease on it and cleaning has helped.  It sounds like you should be good to go with the mount.  I have been very pleased with iOptron's support.


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#19 Poochpa

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 12:22 PM

iOptron gave me a PDF that went through about 5 steps to troubleshoot the issue and this was #1.

 

*****

Paul, glad you got it fixed! Can you post or link the PDF that Ioptron sent you in case we run into the same problem?

Mike
 



#20 Paul in Northern Michigan

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 01:57 PM

Sure,

 

I'll attach the link to the help that I received.

 

http://www.ioptron.u...SGP_RA_Play.pdf

 

Hopefully this comes across correctly.


Edited by Paul in Northern Michigan, 19 January 2020 - 01:58 PM.


#21 Poochpa

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 02:12 PM

Yes, downloads fine. Thank you Paul for posting it.

Mike




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