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10" SCT on an iOptron AZ Pro?

Cassegrain SCT Mount Observing
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#1 ravenhawk82

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Posted 06 March 2021 - 09:37 PM

Hi all, 

I'm curious just how close to the limit an iOptron AZ Mount Pro can go and still function well. I have an older Meade 10" SCT tube that weighs ~26lbs and hits ~31-33lbs with everything attached depending on which eyepieces are attached. The iOptron AZ Mount Pro lists a payload capacity of 33lbs on the primary side when properly balanced. From what I've read searching the forums, this mount doesn't do well with long-bodied refractors. In my though case the OTA is about the same length as my small 80mm refractor, it's just wide and heavy. Has anyone used the AZ Pro with a similar setup, and if so would you be willing to share your experiences? 

I'm looking for a portable goto mount for visual use only to complement my astrophotography setup. My Orion Atlas does a wonderful job for astrophotography when I take the time and effort to haul it out and set it up. I'd like something a bit more convenient for visual use though, as well as something that I can use to observe the sky when I've got hours of sub exposures queued up on the Atlas. The AZ Pro stands out to me because it is small, light, and has its own rechargeable battery so I could either use it by itself without hauling my battery out with me or even use it during an imaging session without having to run any more cables. If the AZ Pro can handle my big SCT I'll probably go for it but I know I'm pushing the limit here so I'd like to get some collective wisdom on the matter before I blow any of my tax returns.

Thanks!



#2 HxPI

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Posted 06 March 2021 - 11:25 PM

I have a C9.25 EdgeHD with accessories weighing 29 lbs and it’s too much for the mount. It will hold the heavy SCT but it’s not sturdy. Also, it’s a challenge putting enough counterweight on the opposite side. I’m waiting for the Rowan AZ-100 with motors to use the C9.25 for visual observing. The Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 is another viable Alt/Az option. I wouldn’t recommend using the iOptron AZ Pro with a SCT larger than 8”. For a dual 80mm refractor setup, which is the only way I use it, the mount is highly recommended! YMMV.


Edited by HxPI, 06 March 2021 - 11:34 PM.

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#3 MrRoberts

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Posted 07 March 2021 - 09:26 AM

I have seen many C-9.25's on the AZMP (need extra cw's). I commonly use my AZMP with my C-8/E with and without the 80mm. But your 10" is really pushing it.

I would suspect the Ioptron GEM45 or SW EQ6R to be the better choice. 

And better yet a CEM70.

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#4 ravenhawk82

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Posted 07 March 2021 - 01:09 PM

Thanks for the input! In this case I'll probably look at a bigger CEM mount then. I was hoping I could get away with something more compact but I'd rather deal with the headache of moving another heavy mount than the headache of an unstable setup. My Atlas handles it great, but if the skies are clear enough for me to pull this scope out they're also clear enough that I'd like to get some imaging done.



#5 GSBass

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 04:46 PM

Was really expecting the AZ pro to be updated but nothing yet, I do like the ease of the atlas conversion to a AZ mount, seems like all these mounts on the market need an update though, all of them could benefit with a little more beef and more advanced electronics

Thanks for the input! In this case I'll probably look at a bigger CEM mount then. I was hoping I could get away with something more compact but I'd rather deal with the headache of moving another heavy mount than the headache of an unstable setup. My Atlas handles it great, but if the skies are clear enough for me to pull this scope out they're also clear enough that I'd like to get some imaging done.



#6 KJL

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 08:19 PM

I have a C9.25 EdgeHD with accessories weighing 29 lbs and it’s too much for the mount. It will hold the heavy SCT but it’s not sturdy. Also, it’s a challenge putting enough counterweight on the opposite side. 

Could you elaborate on the difficulties? For example, what is the tripod you're using and does "not sturdy" mean that it vibrates too much during use?

 

I have an EdgeHD 9.25 with an AZMP incoming, and had on the basis of reports here and elsewhere concluded the AZMP could hold it ....



#7 HxPI

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 10:12 PM

Could you elaborate on the difficulties? For example, what is the tripod you're using and does "not sturdy" mean that it vibrates too much during use?

 

I have an EdgeHD 9.25 with an AZMP incoming, and had on the basis of reports here and elsewhere concluded the AZMP could hold it ....

Yes it will hold it but you should be especially careful how you setup and handle it for the best performance.

 

I use an iOptron Tri-pier which is stable and reliable. The issue I have with this combination is my particular C9.25 EdgeHD rig is very close to the weight limit of the mount and doesn’t provide enough overhead for my satisfaction. It holds and slews the setup fine but I’m concerned about it coming loose from excessive force, especially during public outreach. This scope with dewshield is long, similiar to my 5” refractor, so leverage forces are a concern. I’ve had this happen before when the clutch came loose and it needed to tightened more than enough.

 

Another issue I had was using the provided secondary saddle for mounting another scope. There’s a reason why they say it has a 10lb limit. The clutch needs to be very tight to keep it from rotating. Some report swapping out the clutch washer with a Teflon washer provides more reliable operation. I swapped out the provided secondary saddle with higher quality ADM Accessories secondary saddle, which is very stable and reliable.

 

This is more a precautionary tale about my particular situation than the mount in general. I prefer to be cautious and operate this mount at about half weight capacity on the main side and balance it out with equal weight on the other side. When the mount is well leveled and balanced, it tracks amazingly well. I’ll be more satisfied with a different mount that has a higher weight handling capacity for my more demanding setups. As always, YMMV.


Edited by HxPI, 17 March 2021 - 10:29 PM.

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#8 KJL

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Posted 18 March 2021 - 09:34 AM

Yes it will hold it but you should be especially careful how you setup and handle it for the best performance.

 

I use an iOptron Tri-pier which is stable and reliable. The issue I have with this combination is my particular C9.25 EdgeHD rig is very close to the weight limit of the mount and doesn’t provide enough overhead for my satisfaction. It holds and slews the setup fine but I’m concerned about it coming loose from excessive force, especially during public outreach. This scope with dewshield is long, similiar to my 5” refractor, so leverage forces are a concern. I’ve had this happen before when the clutch came loose and it needed to tightened more than enough.

 

Another issue I had was using the provided secondary saddle for mounting another scope. There’s a reason why they say it has a 10lb limit. The clutch needs to be very tight to keep it from rotating. Some report swapping out the clutch washer with a Teflon washer provides more reliable operation. I swapped out the provided secondary saddle with higher quality ADM Accessories secondary saddle, which is very stable and reliable.

 

This is more a precautionary tale about my particular situation than the mount in general. I prefer to be cautious and operate this mount at about half weight capacity on the main side and balance it out with equal weight on the other side. When the mount is well leveled and balanced, it tracks amazingly well. I’ll be more satisfied with a different mount that has a higher weight handling capacity for my more demanding setups. As always, YMMV.

I'm grateful for your detailed advice.

 

I understand what you are worried about in regards to leverage forces and how that brings into question the behavior of a setup especially in regards to the clutch and saddle..

 

Consequently, I ordered Graham's Teflon clutch washer as soon as the AZMP transaction went through. I also have ADM saddles (and matching counterweight adapter) at the ready.

 

Ultimately, I do have a 16" dob.that is also geared for ease-of-use. Moreover, I suspect the AZMP will be used mostly with smaller refractors, with some lucky sod making off with my EdgeHD 9.25.

 

But I am prepared to try taxing the AZMP. I'll keep your concerns under advisement.

 

Thanks again.



#9 biz

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 02:01 PM

I'm grateful for your detailed advice.

 

I understand what you are worried about in regards to leverage forces and how that brings into question the behavior of a setup especially in regards to the clutch and saddle..

 

Consequently, I ordered Graham's Teflon clutch washer as soon as the AZMP transaction went through. I also have ADM saddles (and matching counterweight adapter) at the ready.

 

Ultimately, I do have a 16" dob.that is also geared for ease-of-use. Moreover, I suspect the AZMP will be used mostly with smaller refractors, with some lucky sod making off with my EdgeHD 9.25.

 

But I am prepared to try taxing the AZMP. I'll keep your concerns under advisement.

 

Thanks again.

Hi KJ,

Just to let you know I machined up your Teflon clutch washer as promised and should have it in the post to you shortly.

cheers

Graham


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#10 GSBass

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 03:00 PM

I think fear of the clutch letting go is not so much an issue if you have a pier, I mean it’s never fun to have any unintended movement but if it’s not going to hit anything then all is good, I’m not sure yet if a Teflon disc is in my future, getting ready to add a refractor to the side saddle so just waiting to see how it does.... I do plan on picking up a strap wrench just to ensure everything is nice and tight after I get them aligned


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#11 KJL

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Posted 22 March 2021 - 09:27 PM

I think fear of the clutch letting go is not so much an issue if you have a pier, I mean it’s never fun to have any unintended movement but if it’s not going to hit anything then all is good, I’m not sure yet if a Teflon disc is in my future, getting ready to add a refractor to the side saddle so just waiting to see how it does.... I do plan on picking up a strap wrench just to ensure everything is nice and tight after I get them aligned

Thanks for that perspective.

 

I can't conceive of a setup where the front of the scope falling will be more hairy than the back hitting something, as I will be setting up my scopes to achieve zenith clearance regardless.
 

However, as is usually the case with dynamical systems, I can imagine a scenario where a wildly-swinging scope could have unexpected consequences, such as a kid grabbing some other part of the mount and pulling the whole thing down with them!



#12 KJL

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Posted 22 March 2021 - 09:28 PM

Hi KJ,

Just to let you know I machined up your Teflon clutch washer as promised and should have it in the post to you shortly.

cheers

Graham

You're literally the best, Graham!

I have already had a go with my new-to-me AZMP and can clearly see what the whole clutch issue is about. Let's just say I'm looking forward to installing your Teflon washer and never having to worry about it again.



#13 GSBass

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Posted 23 March 2021 - 08:06 AM

The thing is, just by design we have our ota almost perfectly balanced so even if the clutch let go completely it’s more likely we are going to just lose alignment, it’s not like it’s going to flop around wildly and doubtful it would ever break free with out external force, I’ll reserve judgement though til I get a chance to mount a secondary, just saying currently with my 180mm, I’ve never had the clutch break free and when I loosen it on purpose it just moves to its balanced position

Thanks for that perspective.

 

I can't conceive of a setup where the front of the scope falling will be more hairy than the back hitting something, as I will be setting up my scopes to achieve zenith clearance regardless.
 

However, as is usually the case with dynamical systems, I can imagine a scenario where a wildly-swinging scope could have unexpected consequences, such as a kid grabbing some other part of the mount and pulling the whole thing down with them!



#14 KJL

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Posted 23 March 2021 - 11:10 AM

The thing is, just by design we have our ota almost perfectly balanced so even if the clutch let go completely it’s more likely we are going to just lose alignment, it’s not like it’s going to flop around wildly and doubtful it would ever break free with out external force, I’ll reserve judgement though til I get a chance to mount a secondary, just saying currently with my 180mm, I’ve never had the clutch break free and when I loosen it on purpose it just moves to its balanced position

I completely understand, and you're absolutely right.

 

The scenario in my mind is a kid (or even a parent) losing their balance because the scope they were (improperly) tugging or leaning on suddenly gives way. It's what they might grab as they fall that I'm worried about!


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