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iOptron AZ Mount Pro squealing and rough tracking

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#1 jp76

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 02:15 PM

I had a question for the iOptron AZM Pro users/experts out there.

 

I assume the sound I will describe is not normal, but is the noticeable movement (in small jerks) of the image while tracking normal?

 

Here are the details:

 

6 months ago I bought a new iOptron AZM Pro and mounted a 102mm f7 refractor on it and used the 10lb counterweight on the other size. The mount was mostly quiet except for (while in the "zero position" with the OTA pointed straight up) if I rotated it around the azimuth to check the level with the bubble level positioned over each of the 3 leveling thumbscrews there were 2 points in the 360 degree circle of rotation where I would hear a slight grinding noise. Fast forward to present day and when I do the same thing (rotating around azimuth in zero position) I hear a metal squealing sound most of the time when rotating around the azimuth in the counter-clockwise direction but just the normal hum without any squeal when I rotate in the clockwise direction. Nearest I can tell I have the mount properly balanced in alt and az.

 

I recently put a 16lb c8 (ota,rail,diagonal,eyepiece) on it (and 17lbs of counterweight) and when looking at a star with my 14mm eyepiece (so 145x) the star was jumping around like a "W" as the mount tracked in alt and az. Clearly this was not right.

 

Last night I went out to try again with both my original 102mm f7 refractor (10lb counterweight) and then my c8 (17lb counterweight), and here are the details of that experiment:

 

When using my 102mm f7 at 100x every 2/3 of a second or so the image shifts. There is a slight dampening time of the OTA for the image to settle after every movement and the star is slightly blurred during this dampening time.

 

Everything else I tried with the c8. Again at 145x with the c8, every 2/3 a second or so the image shifts and the stars go out of focus for a brief moment as the scope stabilizes before the image shifts again. It is like the tracking is in discrete steps that are like tapping on the OTA and not like a smooth motion. At 25degrees the stepping is more noticeable though not nearly as bad a previous session that prompted this testing. at 41.6 degrees the movement of the image was better, it was more like going out of focus for a moment instead of moving in discrete steps. again looking at another star at 21.1alt 80deg E (probably 100degrees to the left in azimuth of my previous observations) the steps and damping was noticeable. Looking near azimuth seemed to be better in general. I assume this is not normal or am I asking too much of the mount? Am I doing something wrong? Is there a user adjustment I can do to the mount or something else to do or do I need to immediately get on the phone to iOptron tech support?

 

Thanks.

 



#2 jsmithsd

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 02:56 PM

Take a look at my previous posts about the AZ Mount Pro in the Equipment/Mounts forum.

Search for: New AZ Mount Pro with a clunk noise.

follow the directions on how to set the worm gear tension and it should solve your issues.

 

hope this helps,

Jason


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#3 dustyc

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 02:57 PM

Mine squealed a little when doing the 360 spin for leveling. Ioptron said it was normal. 

But the other "jumping" issue that you have might not be an easy fix. If you didn't have this problem when you first got the Pro, but noticed it recently then the target objects may be causing the issue. I (and Ioptron) struggled with this issue with multiple main board changes but what they were 1st interested in was what I was tracking while the problem was occurring. Long story short was they sent a few modified main boards to try and even sent me a different new unit. 

Excellent support for their products but you may need to pack some patience while troubleshooting this. 



#4 dustyc

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 03:00 PM

Take a look at my previous posts about the AZ Mount Pro in the Equipment/Mounts forum.

Search for: New AZ Mount Pro with a clunk noise.

follow the directions on how to set the worm gear tension and it should solve your issues.

 

hope this helps,

Jason

Good call on the gear tension. I forgot about that one. In my case it didn't help, but merely reduced the slight thunk when it "jumped". 



#5 biz

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 03:03 PM

I had a question for the iOptron AZM Pro users/experts out there.

 

I assume the sound I will describe is not normal, but is the noticeable movement (in small jerks) of the image while tracking normal?

 

Here are the details:

 

6 months ago I bought a new iOptron AZM Pro and mounted a 102mm f7 refractor on it and used the 10lb counterweight on the other size. The mount was mostly quiet except for (while in the "zero position" with the OTA pointed straight up) if I rotated it around the azimuth to check the level with the bubble level positioned over each of the 3 leveling thumbscrews there were 2 points in the 360 degree circle of rotation where I would hear a slight grinding noise. Fast forward to present day and when I do the same thing (rotating around azimuth in zero position) I hear a metal squealing sound most of the time when rotating around the azimuth in the counter-clockwise direction but just the normal hum without any squeal when I rotate in the clockwise direction. Nearest I can tell I have the mount properly balanced in alt and az.

 

I recently put a 16lb c8 (ota,rail,diagonal,eyepiece) on it (and 17lbs of counterweight) and when looking at a star with my 14mm eyepiece (so 145x) the star was jumping around like a "W" as the mount tracked in alt and az. Clearly this was not right.

 

Last night I went out to try again with both my original 102mm f7 refractor (10lb counterweight) and then my c8 (17lb counterweight), and here are the details of that experiment:

 

When using my 102mm f7 at 100x every 2/3 of a second or so the image shifts. There is a slight dampening time of the OTA for the image to settle after every movement and the star is slightly blurred during this dampening time.

 

Everything else I tried with the c8. Again at 145x with the c8, every 2/3 a second or so the image shifts and the stars go out of focus for a brief moment as the scope stabilizes before the image shifts again. It is like the tracking is in discrete steps that are like tapping on the OTA and not like a smooth motion. At 25degrees the stepping is more noticeable though not nearly as bad a previous session that prompted this testing. at 41.6 degrees the movement of the image was better, it was more like going out of focus for a moment instead of moving in discrete steps. again looking at another star at 21.1alt 80deg E (probably 100degrees to the left in azimuth of my previous observations) the steps and damping was noticeable. Looking near azimuth seemed to be better in general. I assume this is not normal or am I asking too much of the mount? Am I doing something wrong? Is there a user adjustment I can do to the mount or something else to do or do I need to immediately get on the phone to iOptron tech support?

 

Thanks.

JP,

The grinding noise you are hearing is sometimes caused by the motor return spring tension not being correct so playing around it’s that may cure that issue. If it’s too tight the stepper motors would be loaded down and emit this noise.

Your electronic issue can be difficult for you to remedy without a replacement main control board.

I would definitely replace the button cell battery in the hand controller first to rule out that. There is mention about this battery in the full manual online. Always make sure your internal lithium power supply is fully charged .

cheers

Graham



#6 jp76

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 03:33 PM

Thanks for the suggestions so far. Yes my mount was fully charged according to the power adapter (which glowed green instead of red). I will check the coin cell battery in the hand controller.

 

For the tension adjustment, I have a 2 page pdf I think I downloaded from cloudynights sometime in the past titled "AZ Mount Pro Tension Adjustment" I assume those are the instructions to which people are referring? I don't have any clunking while tracking but I can give the instructions a try.

(edit: found it. This is the pdf: http://www.ioptron.u...gTensionADJ.pdf )

 

Jason, I assume this is the exact post to which you refer. I will give it a try:

https://www.cloudyni...e/#entry9070546

 

Thanks!


Edited by jp76, 03 April 2020 - 03:51 PM.


#7 nva

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 12:16 PM

The loud Az slew will go away if you loosen the tension on the Az worm gear. The shaking when tracking is probably the belt slipping on one of the steppers (alt) for me. It only slips at low slew speed (1x) or during tracking so the behavior is tricky to figure out. I don't think you can direcrly change the belt tension but you can adjust the worm gear on that side and it slips less. It's probably worth doing both of these things loaded as described, however perfectly balanced should behave similar to unloaded.

Edited by nva, 04 April 2020 - 12:17 PM.


#8 dustyc

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 01:58 PM

I took off the side cover on mine and ran tracking without a load on it. Sometimes it would track fine depending on the area of the sky the target was. When this rough tracking happened I could see the stepper motor, belt and sprocket all make a smooth but large rotation. Easy to see. Normal alt/az tracking was impossible to see, but this sudden movement was pretty obvious. My bet is the OP can play with adjustments but his fix will be a replacement board. Something is issuing a command for a large slew. I thought a belt might be slipping too, but the belt would have to really be loose to slip a tooth on the sprocket. 

It's pretty obvious at high power (like the OP, I used a C8, about 150 to 200 magnification).



#9 biz

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 04:03 PM

I took off the side cover on mine and ran tracking without a load on it. Sometimes it would track fine depending on the area of the sky the target was. When this rough tracking happened I could see the stepper motor, belt and sprocket all make a smooth but large rotation. Easy to see. Normal alt/az tracking was impossible to see, but this sudden movement was pretty obvious. My bet is the OP can play with adjustments but his fix will be a replacement board. Something is issuing a command for a large slew. I thought a belt might be slipping too, but the belt would have to really be loose to slip a tooth on the sprocket. 

It's pretty obvious at high power (like the OP, I used a C8, about 150 to 200 magnification).

Hi Dusty,

I feel the same as you , the belt would really have to be the wrong one (too long) for it to slip and as the  OP’s is actually working then this will not be the case so again as you have mentioned a new board maybe required.

The motors on these mounts are screwed to an alloy casting that houses the brass worm. It is a very solid assembly and has very little if any of adjustment for the belt as it’s made to suit this belt.

Both the belt gears on the motor and worm are toothed so slipping really cannot occur with this assembly.

Cheers

Graham


Edited by biz, 04 April 2020 - 06:15 PM.


#10 nva

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 05:30 PM

I'll be honest I haven't had the mount out since my last adjustment but I literally observed the belt slip at the motor at low slew speeds and could dynamically control it based on the worm gear tension. This was unloaded. Stepper motors have the most torque at low speeds so I would expect it to happen then as well. Graham is the expert though. Plus this would be cheap protection for the motor that it would just slip when overloaded (just came to mind).

Edited by nva, 04 April 2020 - 05:49 PM.


#11 biz

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 06:11 PM

I'll be honest I haven't had the mount out since my last adjustment but I literally observed the belt slip at the motor at low slew speeds and could dynamically control it based on the worm gear tension. This was unloaded. Stepper motors have the most torque at low speeds so I would expect it to happen then as well. Graham is the expert though. Plus this would be cheap protection for the motor that it would just slip when overloaded (just came to mind).

Well I’ve never claimed to be the expert....If you feel that it’s slipping then maybe you should check that the two toothed gears for each motor and worm are tightened up properly on their shafts. If the motors are overloaded they will just miss steps and you should hear that as a clicking sort of noise . Basically that is the motors protection as I see it.

Graham


Edited by biz, 04 April 2020 - 08:29 PM.


#12 jp76

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 09:52 PM

It's cloudy over here at the moment but I took of the silver plastic side panel off the mount and adjusted the alt tension. first I mistakenly tightened it by turning the shaft counter-clockwise and then I heard the clunk. So that was interesting as I never hear the clunk in normal use when it appeared the image was jumping in the eyepiece. I went ahead and loosed it back up a lot. I can see how it works now by pulling down on the gear shaft with my finger and seeing the gear disengage from the giant gear attached to the counterweight shaft assembly. I watched the mount track the moon unloaded (moon is at 30degree alt.) and I can see the small toothed gear that has the belt on it slowly turn. I didn't see any noticeable big jumps but I can see it moving but sometimes it seems like it isn't moving. Not sure if it's my perception or reality. I'm not sure if that tiny belt driven gear is in a constant state of motion or not. (I suppose I could put an oscilloscope on the stepper motor wires but I'm sure stripping back some wire insulation is instant warranty invalidation.)

 

As for the Az, I rotated the adjustment screw 180 degrees ccw and it stopped squealing. I will look at the mount some more in a little bit but would love any feedback based on my observations so far. 

 

Also, how does one disassemble the mount any more than removing 1 of the silver side panels? And is it necessary to do so?

 

Thanks.


Edited by jp76, 05 April 2020 - 10:46 PM.


#13 biz

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 12:59 AM

It's cloudy over here at the moment but I took of the silver plastic side panel off the mount and adjusted the alt tension. first I mistakenly tightened it by turning the shaft counter-clockwise and then I heard the clunk. So that was interesting as I never hear the clunk in normal use when it appeared the image was jumping in the eyepiece. I went ahead and loosed it back up a lot. I can see how it works now by pulling down on the gear shaft with my finger and seeing the gear disengage from the giant gear attached to the counterweight shaft assembly. I watched the mount track the moon unloaded (moon is at 30degree alt.) and I can see the small toothed gear that has the belt on it slowly turn. I didn't see any noticeable big jumps but I can see it moving but sometimes it seems like it isn't moving. Not sure if it's my perception or reality. I'm not sure if that tiny belt driven gear is in a constant state of motion or not. (I suppose I could put an oscilloscope on the stepper motor wires but I'm sure stripping back some wire insulation is instant warranty invalidation.)

 

As for the Az, I rotated the adjustment screw 180 degrees ccw and it stopped squealing. I will look at the mount some more in a little bit but would love any feedback based on my observations so far. 

 

Also, how does one disassemble the mount any more than removing 1 of the silver side panels? And is it necessary to do so?

 

Thanks.

JP ,

To adjust what you have done there is no need to remove anymore than the one side panel.

However if you need to dismantle the mount then, yes , there is a lot to remove and you would need  instructions to be able to proceed in the correct order. If the belt cogs are loose on their shafts then it’s pretty much a complete dismantle to correct that. 
Ive never come across that (cogs ) with these mounts so I wouldn’t go down that road with out the OK from iOptron,  play with the spring tension and see how you get on. 
Contact Ioptron about your issue as you would need to if a new board is required.

I realise that the timing is not good at present but we are all in the same boat.

cheers

Graham

 




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