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iOptron HAZ-46 Alt Azi Mount Review

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#1 urright4me

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 05:00 AM

I would recommend the HAZ46 mount to anyone that wants a rock solid, portable, easy to use mount with excellent GoTo, tracking, and sharp star tracking (for up to 30s exposures as tested). It is an expensive mount and does not fit every pocket book, so price is one negative aspect especially for imaging aficionados who may not want to pay a lot for a simple alt-azi mount. I cannot comment on long term astrophotography, however, after shooting about 15-20, 30 second exposures with my dslr’s I am very pleased with how tight the stars appear. I am happy to say that the HAZ46 strain wave gear/motor control system is a vast improvement over the older MiniTower2, etc. which I have used for many years. The HAZ46 Mount is a keeper and will be fielded at both of the upcoming eclipses for solar imaging and viewing.

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#2 StarAlert

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 08:07 AM

Without user mods, “rock solid” isn’t exactly how I’d describe it. The wimpy stock saddle is an absolute disaster. It was completely inadequate for my TMB130SS f/7 stable enough to do any critical focusing. And when you use the saddle horizontally (on top) the hole in the middle of saddle, which is there to allow one to actually see the top-mounted bubble level during set up, is off by mile. My guess is the engineer/accountant was only interested in saving money and simply took the saddle from the HAZ31 and put it on the HAZ46. Oops

 

In fact, the shaking was so bad, I had to replace the stock saddle, which was clearly designed for portability rather than actually holding a 25lb, 910mm refractor steady, with a much more capable 7” ADM saddle. That mod alone eliminated about 95% of the shaking. Thank you Anthony at ADM! 
 

As for GoTo accuracy, my iOptron AZ Mount Pro is light-years better. After careful leveling my AZMP will put targets on the opposite side of the sky precisely in the FOV. My HAZ46 is only accurate for targets within about 15 degrees, forcing me to re-sync to targets if I want to move significant distances across the night sky. And another thing the HAZ does that my AZMP doesn’t is rotate 350 degrees in the opposite direction to go to a target just 10 degrees away. 

 

Finally, the hand controller for the AZMP has a larger screen and is easier to read than the HAZ hand controller. Apparently the new hand controller was designed by a 25-year-old with perfect eyesight. Why not just adopt the hand controller used with the AZMP? 
 

At this point, unfortunately, the AZMP is the mount I choose when setting up my TEC140 for public outreach. Especially, when I know I’ll be slewing between targets more than 20 degrees apart… e.g. Saturn and Jupiter.

 

I had high hopes for the HAZ46 given how good my AZMP is, but, unfortunately, I think it’s a step backwards.  


Edited by StarAlert, 02 October 2023 - 07:58 AM.

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#3 Deadlake

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 01:42 PM

My HAZ46 is only accurate for targets within about 15 degrees, forcing me to re-sync to targets if I want to move significant distances across the night sky.

 

Is this true of the HAZ31 too, until I read this the HAZ’s where on my list of mounts, given the ADM saddle work around is available.


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#4 ullomat

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Posted 02 October 2023 - 03:55 AM

There may be a unit to unit variation. I do have the HAZ31, which is as accurate as my former AZMount Pro and it tracks even better. 

This issue of the HAZ-46 should be reported to iOptron, though. Probably already has. Concerning the saddle, it is quite sufficient for what I mount on the HAZ31 (up to 11kg refractor), but I have to agree, for bigger and heavier scopes it lookes at least a little bit weak. I cannot contribute personal experience, though. 


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#5 StarAlert

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Posted 02 October 2023 - 05:29 AM

There may be a unit to unit variation. I do have the HAZ31, which is as accurate as my former AZMount Pro and it tracks even better. 

This issue of the HAZ-46 should be reported to iOptron, though. Probably already has. Concerning the saddle, it is quite sufficient for what I mount on the HAZ31 (up to 11kg refractor), but I have to agree, for bigger and heavier scopes it lookes at least a little bit weak. I cannot contribute personal experience, though. 

I am literally the only person in the world to post (back on May 13) an HAZ46 review on the iOptron website. If they don’t read the product reviews posted to their own website, I suppose I could call them up and read it out loud for them. I may have to make a YouTube video to show just how bad the GoTo accuracy is. But this would require two cameras and video editing and that’s something I know very little about. 

 

edit: I updated my HAZ46 review posted on the iOptron website this morning. That's why the review is now dated Oct 2. 


Edited by StarAlert, 02 October 2023 - 10:35 AM.


#6 ullomat

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Posted 02 October 2023 - 06:51 AM

To contact the iOptron support team would be my next step in your case, but I guess you already did so. Such a GoTo performance is not normal imho. 


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#7 jmerran

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Posted 02 October 2023 - 07:33 PM

Hi Ullomat:

I plan to purchase the HAZ31 mount, switching from my Alt-Az Pro mount that I just sold; was too heavy to move around with telescope and eyepiece (ES 102  and Celestron 8" edge) and even with perfect levelling (which was always a cumbersome frustrating process) of the mount it was not keeping object in the eyepiece FOV long enough and Goto precision was erratic at times. . What is your experience in Goto precision and tracking quality with the HAZ31 ? You seem very satisfied, could you be more specific. GOTO accuracy ?  Thanks



#8 ullomat

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Posted 06 October 2023 - 03:20 AM

Hi,

I sold my AZ Mount Pro and purchased the HAZ-31 to replace it. Main reason, 12kg less weigt to carry (lighter mount and tripod extension and 10kg less counterweights). GoTo is as accurate as my former AZ Pro, I am really satiesfied with its performance. The AZ Pro sometimes had some very small vibrations due to the tracking at very high magnifications. I did not see this issue at my HAZ-31 so far. 

Bottom line, I can recommend the HAZ-31 and I guess this will be true for the 46, too. Not all will be 100% but this is a support topic for iOptron in case a unit does not work as advertised. 

cs,

Uli

 

Hi Ullomat:

I plan to purchase the HAZ31 mount, switching from my Alt-Az Pro mount that I just sold; was too heavy to move around with telescope and eyepiece (ES 102  and Celestron 8" edge) and even with perfect levelling (which was always a cumbersome frustrating process) of the mount it was not keeping object in the eyepiece FOV long enough and Goto precision was erratic at times. . What is your experience in Goto precision and tracking quality with the HAZ31 ? You seem very satisfied, could you be more specific. GOTO accuracy ?  Thanks



#9 Wildetelescope

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 07:50 PM

Very nice write up.  I have one question.  did you need some sort of adapter to use this mount with the Losmandy tripod.   I am very interested in this mount and I already have a variety of Losmandy tripods that could be put to this use.

 

thanks

 

JMD



#10 Sulafat

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Posted 08 October 2023 - 11:23 AM

Thank you for the comprehensive review. I recently purchased a HAE29 and found the rationale for your choice of the HAZ46 validating. In my youthful days, I used an iOptron iEQ45 and 9.25 SCT. However, my days of lugging around heavy equipment are behind me as senescence and sarcopenia take their toll. I am enjoying the portability and ease of setup the HAE29 provides, as you noted for the HAZ46. I am using it in alt-az mode for visual observing with a 90mm f/5.8 refractor. Someday I may try it in equatorial mode with a 6-inch RC for astrophotography. Although I haven’t pressed my unit to its limits, I find its performance thus far satisfying and predictable. I particularly enjoy having a hand controller with buttons, so I don’t have to be tethered to a dark adaptation destroying screen on either a phone, pad, or computer. I find its simplicity and flexibility golden. I think iOptron has done a good job with their line of strainwave mounts.



#11 urright4me

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Posted 08 October 2023 - 10:32 PM

Wildetelescope. It is the standard losmandy wing nut. Nothing special. It seems to lock it down tightly with no jiggle. I just hand tighten it. I would suggest checking each time you set it up to be sure it’s tight. I will be in corpus Christie for the annular eclipse with the haz46 and my 90mm doublet/quark setup. I’ll get another test of setup and tracking accuracy at a new location.
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#12 cephas205

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Posted 14 October 2023 - 12:24 AM

The HAZ 46 has quite a bit of weakness and not well thought off from a design aspect. After I start testing i realised for the Mount has:
1) a weak saddle. Not sure whether it’s secure even when tighten.
2)the bubble level which is highly inaccurate. I have to removed and install my own bubble level.
3)The knobs are hard to use and painful when tightening especially for big hands.
4)daytime observation self calibration goes to the sun first. Dangerous!

The tripods:

1) the Literoc mount is hard to use. Aligning the bubble level was an exercise in frustration. Even in daytime.keep in needing to shift the legs so many times to get it accurate. The legs locking screw head are not secure and can come out if you accidentally turn in the reverse.
2) the carbon fibre tripod mini pier have to a Allen key to turn the knob. Try doing it in the dark.

Only good thing is the Mount seems to work fine after all the set up is done.

Ioptron in they’re eager to churn out HAZ 46, did not consider the design engineering e aspect of the Mount and tripod.

Anyway that my feedback.

Peter.
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#13 flyboyu777

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Posted 15 October 2023 - 02:21 PM

I have the HAE29 (for about a month now), and I think the mount is pretty spectacular.  I see all the negative comments about these strain mounts, and I don't see what some here are dealing with.  It's extremely light, very quiet, and had no problem carrying a double load of 2 refractor OTA's.  I got one with the little handbox, no EC's and the CF tripod to carry the load.  What is really amazing to me is that with just a rough alignment yesterday it tracked the sun almost perfectly from 10am to 4pm with just some minor tracking adjustments.  One thing I will say to watch out for is since the power supply attaches to the front, and rotates, make sure you have some slack in the cord or it will get twisted up after a few GOTO slews.

 

Jim



#14 urright4me

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Posted 19 October 2023 - 03:01 PM

The mount performed superbly down in Corpus Christi for the annular eclipse last week.  I had it setup and tracking the sun in-between clouds.  It was off, just a tad, after auto alignment.  I realized my camera was out of focus, and I may have missed the initial alignment due to the clouds.  Once my Nikon D500 with 500mm lens was properly focused, I synced to target and followed it for about 3 hours to get whatever shots I could in-between the **** clouds.  Of course it had no trouble with this light load.  I even switched out to a 90mm doublet refractor setup with a Quark to see if the view improved from a "normal" full sun exposure.  This also was a light load.  I had no issues with tracking, etc. and remain quite happy with my HAZ46 purchase and stand by my review.  I don't have any tripod issues as mentioned, it's a Losmandy.  I did take "Star Alerts" critique of the mount in mind, and ordered an upgraded saddle to improve stability of the saddle, as mentioned I eventually want to try my ES165 on this setup.



#15 jambi99

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Posted 19 October 2023 - 05:07 PM

I know the mount seems to perform really well but for that price the fit and finish look terrible(really basic looking).



#16 Wildetelescope

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Posted 28 October 2023 - 05:21 PM

Wildetelescope. It is the standard losmandy wing nut. Nothing special. It seems to lock it down tightly with no jiggle. I just hand tighten it. I would suggest checking each time you set it up to be sure it’s tight. I will be in corpus Christie for the annular eclipse with the haz46 and my 90mm doublet/quark setup. I’ll get another test of setup and tracking accuracy at a new location.

Thanks!  That is good to know.   I have several Losmandy tripods including an HD Mount with flat top adapter.   Looking at something like this for portability when I retire.   Would be interested in hearing how it handles your ES 160 mm.  

 

JMD



#17 urright4me

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Posted 05 November 2023 - 02:56 PM

Not sure if StarAlert above has updated his HAZ firmware (you need a pc to make any updates).  iOptron has had a firmware upgrade (suggested) on their website since 4/20/2023.  It adds HC firmware version V20230420 on the display, modifies self-calibration to avoid dovetail saddle interfering with the GPS/magnetic sensor.  V20230305 improve the tracking and. V20221018 fixed a GPS issue during auto-calibration.  Check to be sure your handset reflects the latest values.  These all seem to be issues StarAlert was mentioning.


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#18 StarAlert

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Posted 06 November 2023 - 02:15 PM

I updated the firmware yesterday. I'll take it out for a test run and report back. 



#19 stax

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Posted 08 November 2023 - 11:05 PM

Very interested to hear if the firmware addresses the issues you had StarAlert as I'm thinking about pulling the trigger on a HAZ46.


Edited by stax, 08 November 2023 - 11:06 PM.


#20 StarAlert

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Posted 14 November 2023 - 02:39 PM

After a couple evenings with the HAZ46, the GoTo seems to be better after the firmware update. However, I don't know if it's because of the firmware update or because I was OCD about getting the mount perfectly level. I spent about 15 minutes slewing back and forth from north to south to make sure there was no movement in the bubble. Afterwards, goto's were pretty accurate, always in the FOV but not exactly centered. I REALLY wish iOptron would add a two or three-star alignment option for all of their Alt Az mounts. How hard can it be?



#21 urright4me

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Posted 15 November 2023 - 04:42 PM

I've upgraded the saddle on both my HAZ31 for BT100 binocular telescope using ADM D dovetail saddle mounted on top as bino option.  The goto is superb and I really can't improve on the ease of use and saddle strength and function.  I also received the iOptron upgraded saddle for my HAZ46.  It has two well spaced 1" clamps on a D/V saddle.  I inserted it into the HAZ46 saddle mounted on top.  I added one bolt from below to really achieve positive attachment to the mount.  4 bolts between original top mounted saddle, 4 bots on new iOptron saddle to V dovetail, two 1" clamps and 1 added bolt from below.  I think I am ready to mount the ES165.  Tonight I will test it out on 7"mak and 8" newtonian for balance.  Last night, after auto alignment, it pointed my 90mm refractor at numerous objects and was tracking perfectly.  The firmware upgrade iOptron posted in April does show the time as 12hr clock.  Initially I was trying to change the time to 24hr clock and was running into some problems, but once I understood its a 12 hour clock, I have had minimal problems.  In addition to careful leveling,  Ive been using an illuminated eyepiece for careful adjustments "slew to object."  Lastly, I added velcro and an onboard battery that together with the Go2Nova hand control allows everything to move around without any cable snags or issues.



#22 cephas205

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Posted 19 November 2023 - 01:15 PM

Hi Urright4me

 

“iOptron upgraded saddle for my HAZ46.” is this something new from ioptron?



#23 urright4me

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Posted 14 December 2023 - 01:08 PM

cephas look up iOptron Dual Dovetail Saddle, got mine open box.  The Vixen dovetail slots into the existing dovetail and I was able to tap an additional bolt from below into the threaded hole visible on the ends of the Dual Dovetail Saddle to firm this up.  This is what I was describing above.  It added some bulk but stability as noted.  Ill take some pics next time.



#24 urright4me

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Posted 08 January 2024 - 06:14 PM

I racked my brain for a tripod that would not take up my entire condo patio. I settled on a solid oak weight rack and mounted cdc aluminum extensions on top and set the haz 31 on that. I bungee the tube to my patio rail and it’s very stable for lunar and planetary. That’s all I get from Dallas area anyway. I travel to other parts of Texas for imaging and dso. The ioptron haz mounts are great for parking and turning back on later.  The firmware upgrade seems to nail the date, time and gps location for almost perfect goto and I just do the sync to whatever object to keep dialing it in. Yes a 2 or 3 star alignment would be great. 



#25 RKeating

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Posted 22 February 2024 - 02:32 PM

After a couple evenings with the HAZ46, the GoTo seems to be better after the firmware update. However, I don't know if it's because of the firmware update or because I was OCD about getting the mount perfectly level. I spent about 15 minutes slewing back and forth from north to south to make sure there was no movement in the bubble. Afterwards, goto's were pretty accurate, always in the FOV but not exactly centered. I REALLY wish iOptron would add a two or three-star alignment option for all of their Alt Az mounts. How hard can it be?

Yes a multi-star align would be nice. Until then, you can give my Reverse Leveling a try. It looks complicated, but once you do it you'll realize it's pretty simple. I posted it separately since it applies to several iOptron Alt-Az mounts:

https://www.cloudyni...nts/?p=13281096




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