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Meridian Flip issue on the new EQ6 R Pro

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#1 GreenFlash87


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Posted 14 February 2020 - 03:43 PM

Hello Everyone,


I first got in to the astrophotography hobby last year and purchased my first mount in November of 2019 which is the new EQ 6 R Pro (the one with the USB port on the mount head).


So far the mount has worked great most of the time with some issues along the way which I still attribute to user error unless I can confirm otherwise. The main issue that I am having is with the meridian flip on the mount which more often than not, does not acquire the target correctly on the other side of the meridian.


Up until recently I have been using the hand controller, and doing a three star alignment. When I want the mount to flip, I simply hit enter on the mount to tell it to reacquire the target, and after the flip the mount is completely lost.


Not only does it not properly position itself on the target, but it has no idea where it is afterwards. I have tried moving it back to the parked position, and then slewing back to the target with no success, the only way I've gotten it to work afterwards is to shut the mount off and realign it. It has managed to successfully complete the flip a small hand full of times which leads me to believe that it is capable of it, and I am doing something wrong.


Some of the times when it is unsuccessful, it seems to stop right at the meridian on the other side of the mount and continue to make a slewing sound for about 5-10 seconds afterwards.


So here are my theories:


  • The mount wasn't level-  There seems to be a bit of a debate on whether or not leveling the mount matters and while I do agree that it might not be for initial acquisition, my gut tells me that it could matter quite a bit when it comes to re-acquiring something on the other side of the meridian.
  • The mount was poorly balanced- I think I ave gotten better about identifying when something is truly balanced and when it isn't but maybe bad balance could have been part of the problem
  • I was aligning with stars that were too close to one another- If i recall correctly I was mainly using Vega, Deneb, and Capella. Maybe these three stars didn't give the mount a broad enough range to get a true barometer of the sky
  •  I have limits set on the mount without knowing it and that's why it sometimes wont move past the meridian on the other side

I have since moved on to a mono camera and APT/EQMOD. Last night I went to the Orion Nebula via APT and it was pretty close actually. I used the slew controls to center it and spent some time imaging.


When the mount moved past the meridian I did the flip using the go to feature in APT, and again it wasn't even close to the target. I am assuming part of the issue was that I didn't correctly plate solve, and possibly because when I used the slew controls it stopped tracking for several minutes.


I am still relatively new to the hobby and EQ mounts, I just thought I would check with a community that's much more experienced than I and see if any of this makes sense.


Is there something that I am obviously doing wrong?


Thank you.

#2 troske


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Posted 14 February 2020 - 04:24 PM

I have the EQ6-R Pro. The first thing to check is your power supply. If the voltage is dropping at all, the mount will stop slewing while still making noises. 


If the mount is not balanced, it will have to work even harder to slew the scope around and that could cause a reduced voltage if the power supply can't keep up. My mount runs on a deep-cycle marine battery or a Celestron Lithium Pro power tank and I have had excellent luck. I originally tried to run it off a small gel-cell, but that was not enough juice. The mount made terrible noises in protest.


Right now I am using Astroberry Server on a Raspberry Pi 4. I have also used Stellarmate. I experienced some issues with automated meridian flips either not happening or starting and stopping before complete. In my case, postponing the flip until the target is more past the meridian seems to have solved that.


Leveling the mount is not needed, but it will simplify polar alignment through the polar scope.

#3 GreenFlash87


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Posted 14 February 2020 - 06:50 PM

Thank you Troske,


I should have mentioned that I am using a 12v 10A 120W power adapter and I have only ever used the mount while plugged in.


I've checked and made sure that the red light is solid and not blinking, which I believe indicates that its getting enough power.


Does the power supply that I am using seem adequate? Maybe I do need to focus more on the balance and wait a little longer to do the meridian flip.

#4 cshine


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Posted 14 February 2020 - 08:31 PM

Hello and welcome to CN. That 12v supply might be a little under-powered. I've seen many EQ6-R owners using this guy. I've used it for a year and had no issues. I don't know that it's causing your issues, they sound a little weird, but it's worth ruling it out.


A few other tips: 


 - Figure out platesolving, it's a game changer. When you have that working your target will be centered every time, even after meridian flips. No need for star alignment either, just PA

 - Set your imaging software to flip 10-15mins after the target crosses the meridian. The EQ6-R does't seem to accept sync messages close to the meridian

 - Use SharpCap's Polar Alignment tool to get well aligned in <5 mins


Hope some of this helps!






#5 ac4lt


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Posted 15 February 2020 - 10:26 AM

I use the same mount and have never had a flip fail. But, I'm using different software for acquisition (NINA or SGP). I've not used APT but when it does the flip is it redoing the plate solving needed to recenter the target?


I don't even plug in the hand controller and just use plate solving and while the first slew might be off a bit, after the first plate solve it tends to be pretty close.

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