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Orion SkyQuest XT10g - Azimuth Stuck

Orion reflector mount dob
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19 replies to this topic

#1 Dlhudgens

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 05:15 PM

I recently purchased a used Orion SkyQuest XT10g dob. After getting it home, I placed it on  top of my Orion DOB POD and tested with the hand controller. Hand controller operation of ALT and AZ works, but I can’t determine whether the azimuth is meeting any resistance. And,...when I try to move the scope’s azimuth manually, it has so much resistance that the Orion DOB POD actually torques. (Not gonna do that much!). I’ve read here on CN what I can find about the Orion SkyQuest XTg series and found some good things to try. 

 

Frankly, I’m not confident of my ability to work on the azimuth encoder/motor/gears without messing something up. I’m relatively new to astronomy.

 

I’m hoping there may be new information available. Plus, I’m curious about something I found between the two round plates or boards that make up the base. It is a white ring of something like sponge or styrofoam. I’m going to attempt to add a photo from a side view. Is this something that should be there?...or is it something that should have been removed during assembly. When I purchased the scope, it was already assembled.

 

Any thoughts or suggestions? I appreciate any input I can get (other than the usual “oops...that’s the hazard of buying a used Orion product...no support.” ). smile.gif

 

F9ECBCBF-9511-4D54-BAA8-81DF9CC557C8.jpeg


Edited by Dlhudgens, 25 March 2020 - 11:15 AM.


#2 Bean614

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 05:39 PM

First, motorized  or not, that 'Dob Pod' does NOT make for smooth Azimuth movements on any size Dob! I have had terrific  Orion GoTo Dobs, Intelliscope  Dobs, and Classic Dobs, in 6" through 14" sizes. Everyone was (and is!) excellent  or better.  But, after I tried a few on the Pod, I ditched the Pod!  Azimuth will be much better when the scope is on dirt.  Also check the small legs to ensure they are tight and firm. 

 

Do NOT remove the foam!!!  Should I repeat that??



#3 outofsight

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 05:56 PM

It sounds OK, with one minor glitch (some of these scopes don't move that well manually, and a Dob Pod will make that much worse) that is not unheard of.

 

Last things first, leave the "white ring of something like sponge or styrofoam" alone. As post 2 just said. Take the scope off of the Dob Pod and see how it moves manually. If it still doesn't move well for you manually, all I can say to that is, so what, as long as you like the way it moves under power. These scopes have to have a certain amount of built-in resistance, so it may never work with your Dob Pod manually, but, once again, if you like the way it works when powered you can use your Dob Pod.

 

Basically, it sounds like your scope is working OK. I don't know why you say, "I can’t determine whether the azimuth is meeting any resistance," and then say, "it has so much resistance that the Orion DOB POD actually torques." But that's OK too, rookies are supposed to be confused, and then they're supposed to try to confuse the rest of us.

 

Bottom line, start working with your scope electrically, using the hand controller, read the manual. Download the manual and search for any keywords that you have questions about. Mess around with it for a while and then ask further questions. I cannot tell for sure, but I don't think there's anything wrong with your scope, or wrong with your initial experience. Use it a while and you'll find out. Good luck with it.



#4 Dlhudgens

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 09:45 PM

Just to clarify...what i meant by “I can’t determine whether the azimuth is meeting any resistance” is that under hand controller movement, the scope may move, but there’s no real way, that I know of, to determine if that movement is meeting any resistance.  Resistance may be undetectable under encoder control. If there were no resistance, though, I would expect that the azimuth movement might be smoother, might need less motor/encoder force and maybe draw less battery power. But how do you determine whether the resistance is there?

 

As for manual azimuth push/pull on my scope it’s almost impossible right now. I’ll take it off the DOB POD tomorrow to see how it works, but I can’t see how setting the scope on a platform of any kind would affect azimuth movement.  Am I missing something here? The DOB POD is level and sitting on a concrete floor.

 

For the record, I currently own 3 Orion DOBs and am quite familiar with Orion. My 6” is totally manual movement, my 8” is Intelliscope and the 3rd one (10”) is goto.  In my few years observing with Orion scopes, my experience has been that Orion’s online support is just about nonexistent and phone support is, well, not available for my 10g. So, I depend on CN to find out what works in the real world.

 

What puzzles me is Orion’s videos show a guy easily moving (manually) the scope in ALT and AZ. Go figure. What I’ve learned on CN so far is that this azimuth drag is a fairly common problem in the SkyQuest XTg series. If Orion cares about their products and customers, they should make available problem recommendations/solutions without strings attached (purchase receipt).  They either know their products or they don’t. They either want to support or they don’t. There’s all kinds of information out there for various brands of computers, but for astronomy products, there’s not much in the public domain.

 

As for my XT10g, I’ve downloaded three different PDF manuals and the only one with any decent details is about the hand controller.  But...I’ll certainly do what you recommended and play with it.  Along the way, I’ll be looking for someone that might do some “engineering” to create a way to disengage the encoder/motor. (A clutch would have been nice in the original design.) As for the DOB POD, well, it has the Orion name on it and all their information for the DOB POD says it works with their DOBs from 6” up to 10” (no exceptions).

 

I do like my Orion DOBs, but I realize that when I buy one, I’m on my own.  If you buy from Orion, you might get warranty replacement parts, but that’s about it.  So...there’s my rant...I feel better now. grin.gif  Some will wonder why I even bought a goto.  I wanted tracking...don’t care that much for the goto feature...maybe nice in a public education event.


Edited by Dlhudgens, 25 March 2020 - 11:12 AM.


#5 outofsight

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 04:15 PM

Have you taken it off of the Dob Pod and tried moving it around? If so, have you learned anything from it? Is it working electrically, the way you think it should?



#6 Dlhudgens

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 07:13 PM

Thanks for following up.  Haven’t had a chance to get the scope out and test it on the ground.  We have a 30-day Covid-19 stay at home order that starts tonight, so we had to get some errands done. At least with 30 days of sit at home, weather permitting, I should be able to get the scope outside for testing. I’m hoping I can do that tomorrow.

 

I’m still holding out hope that the Texas Star Party in May won’t be cancelled; so, just in case it all works out, want to get started on fixing this issue. It may not be a real worry, but I’m concerned that if the scope does not move well manually, then could using the encoder/motor break something?  I’ll just have to take it one step at a time.

 

Thanks again.


Edited by Dlhudgens, 25 March 2020 - 07:15 PM.


#7 outofsight

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 09:25 PM

Absolutely, do what you have to do. Just mess with it when you can. You have to use it more before you can get your questions answered. My money is still on your scope is basically fine, whether it has good manual movement or not. 



#8 Dave Bush

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 09:43 PM

Absolutely, do what you have to do. Just mess with it when you can. You have to use it more before you can get your questions answered. My money is still on your scope is basically fine, whether it has good manual movement or not. 

But the problem is, Orion touts as a feature, the ability to manually move the scope, allowing you to star hop should you choose and then let it track.  Indeed their videos show it being moved very easily by hand.  So one can only assume that, smooth, easy movement is what they intend.  Mine, recently purchased, is just as the OP describes his.  They are sending me a replacement base.   We’ll see.  



#9 outofsight

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 10:12 PM

That's the difference between basically fine, and perfectly fine.



#10 Dave Bush

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 10:31 PM

That's the difference between basically fine, and perfectly fine.

If you can’t move the scope in azimuth manually I would not call that “basically fine”. 



#11 outofsight

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 11:20 PM

If you can’t move the scope in azimuth manually I would not call that “basically fine”. 

Yeah, but I would. If someone buys a used scope, they should make the best of it. My money is still on the Dlhudgens, ultimately, enjoying the scope. At least I hope so.



#12 Dlhudgens

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 03:35 AM

I appreciate the different perspectives; it helps me evaluate where I’m at with the scope. 

 

Do I plan to enjoy the scope? Absolutely. Do I believe the scope should operate as advertised? You betcha.  

 

What really matters most about a scope, at least to me, is that the “horse & rider” are a good match. There’s all kinds of horses that are bred to perform in different ways—race horses, cutting horses, horses for barrel racing...you get the idea. 

 

In my case I want my “horse” to perform the way I want to observe. What I like most about observing is the hunt followed by verification. (Deep sky is my favorite)  I don’t want the scope to do the finding; I want to do that myself. What I want from the scope is a good image...one that I can do sketches from. That means I need a scope that moves where I can aim it manually and one that will track when I get it on target. That’s what excites me in observing. Using the goto feature, for me, takes the fun out of it.

 

What I really like about CN is that there are so many members with different scopes, different interests, etc., yet everyone is willing to share information, including resolutions to problems. The real trick is to get folks to look at the issue and offer insights and then you can check out potential solutions. That, too, can be fun (and I wish the vendors would participate in that part of it and contribute to the “fun” of resolving issues). Since that isn’t going to happen, we depend on each other and hopefully have some fun along the way.

 

I’m going to take the advice and insights I have to-date and see what I can do. Other future suggestions will also be applied as they may fit my scope, how I observe and what my limited skills can do (maybe I’ll even pick up some good skills in the process). wink.gif  I’ll hopefully have good weather today (in daylight hours) and get to work on it.  Thanks again for all the input.



#13 Myk Rian

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 08:58 AM

Do NOT remove the foam!!!  Should I repeat that??

Yeah. I don't understand why the foam is there at all, except for shipping purposes.

None of my dobs, Orion included, have that, and don't need it.

 



#14 Bean614

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 09:36 AM

Yeah. I don't understand why the foam is there at all, except for shipping purposes.

None of my dobs, Orion included, have that, and don't need it.

That's because your other Orion Dobs are NOT GoTo Dobs with Motors, etc.  I'm not the only one in this thread who has advised NOT to remove the foam!  But, do whatever you wish.....


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#15 Dlhudgens

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 10:19 AM

I finally found out why the white foam ring is in the base—it is a dust protector.  That information was kind of obscure in one of Orion’s publications about the XT10g.  I’m leaving mine in place.


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#16 outofsight

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 10:40 AM

Yeah. I don't understand why the foam is there at all, except for shipping purposes.

None of my dobs, Orion included, have that, and don't need it.

It is a dust guard for the motor components. It very clearly says what it is and to leave it alone on pages 2, 3, and 5 of the manual. All telescope systems are not the same. 

 

https://www.telescop...29388_06-13.pdf


Edited by outofsight, 26 March 2020 - 10:40 AM.


#17 Dlhudgens

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 11:34 AM

UPDATE:  Finally have time and no rain.  Took the OTA off the base and moved the base outside to a concrete surface.  I grasped the 2 handles on either side of the base and tried to turn it (azimuth). I got it to move, that was with significant force...to the point I was concerned I might break something.

 

If anyone can offer suggestions on what to take apart first, I would appreciate it. I don’t want to create a bigger problem by doing the wrong thing. My own guess is that some part of the encoder/motor assembly is not moving freely.

 

Any thoughts?



#18 outofsight

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 12:00 PM

"I got it to move, that was with significant force...to the point I was concerned I might break something."

 

This is why I asked you to use it electrically and get a feel for the scope. It is highly unlikely that you are breaking anything. While I cannot know what "significant force" means, from a distance, I can know that if the base runs with power then your scope setup is basically OK, functioning properly. Then you can consider what to do about the manual operation. 

 

Another thing I should have added. Don't attempt to manually move only the base, put the scope on it because the scope acts as a lever and noticeably changes the way the base moves. At least that's the way mine works. Good luck with it.


Edited by outofsight, 26 March 2020 - 12:25 PM.


#19 Dlhudgens

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 01:06 PM

I did run the scope with the hand controller. As I said before, the scope responds to the hand controller. What cannot be determined is how much resistance is affecting motor-driven azimuth. Given enough resistance, I’m fairly certain something in the motor/encoder assembly could be damaged.

 

What I mean by “significant force” is that when the scope is level on a concrete surface, I have to use both hands/arms (grasping the base’s handles) to get the scope to even budge.  That just is not right.

 

For anyone interested, here’s a step-by-step reply to a similar post on CN.  Look for “Cheesehead” and the numbered steps. I’ve reached out to Cheesehead asking for photos (which did not download on the previous post). If I get any information, I’ll share it for those having the same experience as mine (and I know there are plenty based on CN posts I’ve found).

 

Here’s the link to Cheesehead’s previous reply to a similar topic: https://www.cloudyni...?hl=orion xt10g



#20 outofsight

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 01:47 PM

"What I mean by “significant force” is that when the scope is level on a concrete surface, I have to use both hands/arms (grasping the base’s handles) to get the scope to even budge."

 

Mine works the same way, but when I put the scope on mine it moves to wherever I move it. 

 

The reason why I wanted more info if you used it with power is because if both of the motors sound OK and it moves OK, then it's OK. Then, when I knew that for sure I was going to recommend some things such as the thread you cited and another PDF on the subject of manual movement. It sounds like you have enough figured out to work it out.

 

If the motors sound OK and it moves as directed with the hand controller then you're not going to hurt it. No one is arguing that it shouldn't work better by hand, but it doesn't. Mine is sitting in front of me right now, I have to use two hands on the base to get it to move, when I put the scope on it and use the front of the scope, or one of the knobs on it, it moves to where I put it. It moves even better if I use the top and the bottom of the scope to move it.

 

Anyway, I hope you work it out to your satisfaction. Don't worry about hurting it if it moves as directed with the hand controller.




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