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iOptron iEQ45 replacement

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9 replies to this topic

#1 pauldorell

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 04:30 PM

My 11-year-old iEQ45 mount has developed a major electrical problem, and I'm thinking of replacing it. Previously, I was happy with it, except that it was easy to jump teeth on the gears for self-protection. This could happen just by accidentally bumping the tube assembly. Otherwise, it was very good for tracking, and, once I had it set up permanently outside, it was always ready to go. The payload is a Takahashi TOA-130, which is on the heavy side, so a good mount is necessary. This mount cost $1700 in 2013, and it now looks as if a good replacement would cost $3000+ now. I use it exclusively for visual observing. I was wondering whether anyone has an opinion. I'm not enthusiastic about shelling out a fortune, but I hate to leave my far-more-expensive scope and eyepieces, which are in excellent shape, sitting around.



#2 jwestervelt

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 05:13 PM

What is your mount doing?  I've had my share of issues over the years with my iEQ30, but ioptron was always willing to help out, even when i fried the mainboard due to plugging in the hbx cable after my cat made some unauthorized modifications to it.



#3 pauldorell

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Posted 18 April 2024 - 10:27 AM

I hadn't used it for over a year, because I moved, and when I plugged it in, I got an error message saying that it wasn't connected or the board was updating. I left it plugged in overnight and got the same message. However, I tried it again today, and the screen on the controller looks normal. So, when the weather clears up, I'll set it up outside – it looks as if it will work. If not, I'll let you know.  Thanks.


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#4 jwestervelt

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Posted 18 April 2024 - 12:56 PM

That message in the past has been a problem with the cable between the handbox and the main board. I'm very careful with that one now because iOptron has zero protection on the serial lines going from that cable connector to the microcontroller.  If you have a messed up cable, it is possible for 12V to get fed right to the microcontroller on the RA board, which will fry it instantly.  When my cat chewed my cable, one of the 12V lines touched the TXD line, and when i powered it up, I received that message and it was game over until i received a replacement board. 

post-51924-0-16270400-1520902425.jpg

 

Here is the link to my post back when this happened, and what I tried doing on my own to resurrect the thing before giving up and getting a replacement board from iOptron.

https://www.cloudyni...illed-my-ieq30/


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#5 pauldorell

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Posted 18 April 2024 - 02:34 PM

Thanks for that info. Hopefully I won't need to go through all that. Actually I'm surprised that my mount still works, because it has basically been outdoors for 10 years in temperatures ranging from -20 to 90. During the winter I usually just take in the scope and the controller. I guess the TeleGizmos covers really work!



#6 jwestervelt

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Posted 18 April 2024 - 08:55 PM

I really like the iOptron mounts... i wish i could have the iEQ45... they are built like tanks and have a nice, simplified aesthetic. Just keep the thing cleaned up and change the grease every couple of seasons and it'll probably keep tickin' until you give up the hobby.  :)


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#7 AxelsHumanDad

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Posted 19 April 2024 - 07:16 AM

I really like the iOptron mounts... i wish i could have the iEQ45... they are built like tanks and have a nice, simplified aesthetic. Just keep the thing cleaned up and change the grease every couple of seasons and it'll probably keep tickin' until you give up the hobby.  smile.gif

I'm glad to hear that. I sometimes feel like an outcast with my iEQ45 since iOptron doesn't get much attention like the popular brand names. grin.gif



#8 pauldorell

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 09:59 AM

Update. We finally got a couple of clear nights here in Vermont, and the mount is all set up and ready to go. As always, it takes a while to get the tripod level and a good polar alignment. I have a more or less permanent setup in the yard with a ground anchor holding the tripod in place. It looks as if finding and tracking will be the same as before. I think the original problem I had may only have been a temporary poor connection on the controller cord. The mount really is built like a tank!


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#9 pauldorell

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Posted 30 April 2024 - 05:48 AM

Update #2. It has still been mainly cloudy here recently. When I actually tested the mount, there was still a problem. The controller didn't remember the zero position when the mount was turned off. I contacted iOptron tech and was told:

1. The controller may need a new battery.

2. The mount may need a GPS fix from a change made in 2019.

3. The mount may need a firmware update.

 

I had no idea that the controller had a battery – I hadn't changed it in 11 years, and it's supposed to last 2 years! After changing the battery, the controller remembers its zero position and seems to be finding objects correctly. My theory is that, because I used the mount fairly regularly for 10 years, the battery was able to retain a slight charge. When I didn't use it at all for a year it went dead. When I left the mount on with the original error message, the battery may have gained enough charge to remove the error message but was still too weak to retain the zero position when the mount was turned off.

 

It currently looks as if the mount is working properly with the controller. I don't think it needs the GPS fix or a firmware update. I'll report again later if anything else comes up.

 

By the way, I thought that the iOptron guy was very helpful. The fix cost $3.95 and took about 5 minutes!


Edited by pauldorell, 30 April 2024 - 05:50 AM.

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#10 pauldorell

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Posted Today, 10:48 AM

Update #3. Although the controller now has the correct GPS information and date, the mount's behavior is erratic. Sometimes it will track an object, and other times it ignores the controller and moves around of its own accord. I think the remaining problem may be with the main board and could be fixable. However, given the age and use of the mount, I've decided to buy a new one. I'm looking at the CEM70, which fits on my current tripod. I think the added weight capacity would be beneficial.




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