Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Issues with Skywatcher AZ EQ-5 Mount

  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Astrolite

Astrolite

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 557
  • Joined: 26 Aug 2017
  • Loc: S. Central Pennsylvania

Posted 23 February 2020 - 01:20 AM

I've owned this particular mount for about 2 1/2 years now and it has always worked well for me until just recently. I have to admit that I hadn't used it in some time so I'm having to relearn a few of the basics. I am strictly a visual observer and have only ever used the mount in Alt Az mode. The mount has almost always been powered with a small portable Li Ion battery pack. During each operating session eventually the LED indicator, on the on/off switch, would begin to blink. According to the manual this is caused by a low voltage condition. The manual even warns you that running it in this condition may cause damage to the motor controller in the mount. However, the manual also says, "If the power voltage is too low, the motor controller will stop the motors automatically." I assumed that this meant that there was some degree of protection built in and therefore just basically ignored the blinking light. I have never encountered a situation where the motor controllers shut down the motors due to low voltage.

 

Enough background, now my current issues. 1). The mount tracks, I can tell by going to "Utilities>Show Position" and watching the Alt and Az readings advance, however it is not tracking at the right speed, the objects rather quickly drift out of the eyepiece. After leaving the mount "tracking" for several hours, the sky has advanced towards the west considerably, but the telescope, just a little bit. I have ensured that it is set to track at the Sidereal rate. I have also verified that the motors are running by placing my ear very close to the mount. The mount slews just fine when using the arrow keys on the handset. 2). The mount was tracking backwards. Watching the "Show Position" readings indicated the the mount was moving in Az towards the East and Alt was decreasing towards the ground. This I chalked up to not have used the mount in a while and setting it up with the scope wrong side of the Az axis. After reversing both axis it seems to be tracking in the right directions. 3). GOTO 2-star alignment. When slewing to the second star the mount goes off in some crazy direction as much as 50 degrees off of where my star selection resides. When this mount was working properly I remember it coming very close to my #2 star choice. After completing the 2-star alignment this mount can't find anything in the sky. I have to admit this action has me wondering whether there still might be something off concerning the tracking backwards issue. I suppose issue #3 has to do with issues #1 and/or #2 and would probably go away if they were sorted out.

 

So what do you think? Did I fry the brains out of this thing with low voltage or am I just missing something here?

 

Ignore the fact that this picture is showing the mount in equatorial mode, that was just done for the photo op.

DSC_1427.jpg  

 

 

 

 



#2 sg6

sg6

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 7,217
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Norfolk, UK.

Posted 23 February 2020 - 03:53 AM

Think you will need a meter to measure the output of the battery.

They are prone to misbehaving when the voltage is low and low is going to be 12.5 or less. At 12v I would expect potential problems. If I recall the voltage range is recommended at about 13.2v here.

 

In Alt/Az mode it will be powering both motors and so if low the circuitry may favor one motor above the other.

 

And they will likely have no protection built in - Skywatcher seemed to think that saving 20c on a diode was better then adding in protection.

 

Alternatives - almost standard check all the settings, or reset and replace everything.

Q: Does it has GPS? Wondering if it might be suffering the roll over problem if the firmware is old now.

 

I would be prone to thinking power, the battery may have dropped capacity over the time you have had it and Li ion batteries seem to be of 2 varieties. One built of 3.7v cells the other from 4.2v cells (well that is as best I can make out). Will say never sure of these as I get the idea they quote highest theoretical voltages under ideal conditions and immediatley after a full charge. Which does not occur in real life.

 

Suppose temperature would be a factor as well, how cold was it ?

 

What is the rating of the battery in mAh ?

 

If it is power then I would be tempted to consider a Li motor cycle battery. Would have to sit under the mount, but they are 13.2v. Capacity may be small - the one I have seen was 4Ah, would expect bigger ones but cost seems to rise exponentially. Thoughts are simply the voltage.

 

Be a little careful as Skywatcher electronics are not the most robust. Some components on their 12v boards are rated at a fair bit less then 12v, thonk some are down at 5v.



#3 Astrolite

Astrolite

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 557
  • Joined: 26 Aug 2017
  • Loc: S. Central Pennsylvania

Posted 23 February 2020 - 05:30 AM

Should have mentioned in the original post I am no longer using that battery. I am now using a really nice Astron  power supply fed by house current. It is rated at 13.8 volts, 10 amps continuous output. This is perfect for this mount. The voltage requirements for the mount, straight from the manual is, "Output Voltage: DC 11V (minimum) to DC 16V (maximum). Voltage not in this range might cause permanent damage to the motor controller or the hand controller." My concern is that even now that the mount is receiving the proper voltage it is not working properly and that the damage was done while using the other battery.

 

I have been through the manuals and all of the settings several times, even did the factory reset. There is no built in GPS and I am not using the optional module. It's just strange that every function, concerning the motors on the mount, works, it slews, I can still change the slew speed with the hand controller and it even tracks, just not at the correct speed. You would think that it would either work or not work if I burned a board. The only thing I haven't tried, that I can think of, is to re-flash the hand controller and motor controller firmware. I don't currently have all of the hardware to do that and I'm a little leery to do it because things can really go bad when flashing anything. Of course, at this point what do I have to lose. I think I'll also be calling Skywatcher USA Monday morning to see if they can give me any insight and pricing on components.



#4 Bean614

Bean614

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 860
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2015
  • Loc: Mass.

Posted 23 February 2020 - 06:16 AM

"I assumed that this meant..."  Well, there goes that 'Assumed' thing again.  You DO know what they say about that, right?

Also, it has been my experience that, if something is not Explicitly stated, it doesn't exist.  

This doesn't help you now, but might be something to take with you going forward....



#5 Jeff Lee

Jeff Lee

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,912
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posted 23 February 2020 - 10:29 AM

Just for testing, have you tried the EQ mode? Your location settings? Time of day (Daylight savings)? I would reset all settings, redo PEC, and make sure that my power source had >12.5 volts under load. These mounts are very picky about voltage, and running anything electrical for a long time with under voltage could cause issues. I would call SW after doing all of the above.



#6 nateman_doo

nateman_doo

    Viking 1

  • ***--
  • Posts: 858
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2017
  • Loc: Dirty Jersey

Posted 23 February 2020 - 06:22 PM

I just got this mount.  I was wondering if there was any way to get the slop out of it?  It moves a bit more than I would like.  Using it for imaging (pier version) 



#7 Astrolite

Astrolite

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 557
  • Joined: 26 Aug 2017
  • Loc: S. Central Pennsylvania

Posted 23 February 2020 - 09:18 PM

Well I am very happy to report that I just came in from an observing session, with the rig in post #1, and the mount worked perfectly. It seems that all of the issues that plagued me all weekend stemmed from the fact that I had not used the mount in a while and had forgotten how! Basically I had forgotten that when using the mount in Alt Az mode the telescope must be on the right hand side of the mount when viewed from behind it. Otherwise it will track backwards, as mine was. While tracking backwards it is impossible to do a successful 2-star alignment, GOTOs will not be successful and the object you are viewing will drift out of the eyepiece very quickly! I really thought I had fried something by operating the mount with low voltage. 

 

I am very happy right now! The scope performed very well also. I just love splitting close doubles with these 3" long focus refractors.


  • eros312 likes this

#8 Jeff Lee

Jeff Lee

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,912
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posted 23 February 2020 - 09:24 PM

Glad to hear it's working. Love mine.

#9 Jeff Lee

Jeff Lee

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,912
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posted 23 February 2020 - 09:27 PM

I just got this mount. I was wondering if there was any way to get the slop out of it? It moves a bit more than I would like. Using it for imaging (pier version)


Search in Cloudy Nights and a fix will come up. Using phone internet down or .I'd post the link

#10 nateman_doo

nateman_doo

    Viking 1

  • ***--
  • Posts: 858
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2017
  • Loc: Dirty Jersey

Posted 24 February 2020 - 12:19 AM

Nevermind, figured it out: https://acercandoelc...e-holgura-ejes/

 

didnt understand a word of it, but once I took the cover off, I was able to stare at it for a minute and figure it out.  took ALL the slop out of it in about 5 min per axis.


  • John O'Grady likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics