View Full Version here: : Anyone done belt mod on EQ6 in GC/Brisbane area?

27-07-2017, 08:38 AM
I'm looking to get my EQ6 upgraded with the rowan belt mod to reduce some of the backlash and grinding noise it makes when slewing. I am not mechanically savvy nor do i have the right tools for the job. I'm just not confident enough yet aha. I haven't bought the mod yet, but just testing the waters to see if anyone can install it for me for about $100 (hopefully that'll get some interest). The mount is an older model EQ6 so not sure if that make a difference.


27-07-2017, 12:15 PM
Tony, I have and it pushed me way out of my comfort zone, so I won't volunteer :lol:

If you're keen, then check out their instructions online. If you follow it through methodically and carefully, it is doable for those of us unsavvy :D

And the exchange rate is pretty favourable at the moment...

27-07-2017, 12:24 PM
Tony, I don't think $100 would be enough for the time involved. Peter(pmrid) just completed his conversion and it took him 24 hours spread over 7 days.

Thread here


27-07-2017, 12:39 PM
If it was someones first time doing the mod I would assume it would take fair bit ~7 days similar to peters, I'm hoping that if someone has done it a couple of times and knows what they're doing it'll be something they can do in just a couple of days, I'd be happy to offer more money (or even an hourly rate).

27-07-2017, 01:12 PM
Hi Tony,
The belt mod is worth it, esp using the Rowan's conversion kit
I did mine over a year ago and love the results
The Rowan kits can be purchased from the UK (I got mine second hand from a member here) http://www.rowanastronomy.com/productsa2.htm
If you follow the instructions and have the tools ready, you can do it in one day or over two days easily.
Having pulled apart my EQ6 a couple of times, I didn't encounter any difficulties.
A couple of tips: the belts are the trickiest part, takes patience.
You need to wiggle the motor/gear to make sure the teeth and the belt match up.
You need to know/learn how to adjust the worm tension and thruster bearing tension (Astrobaby used to have a great on-line guide, it's gone now, but a PDF version of it is here http://atm.udjat.nl/stepper/EQ6%20Strip%20Down%20Guide.pdf )

27-07-2017, 01:23 PM
Hi Tony
You could sell your mount and buy a new mount with the belts if you don't want to do it yourself.

Value of old mount, add cost of kit, add cost of your time =< or > price of new mount.


27-07-2017, 01:42 PM
I got the mount at a REALLY good price at $600 from jjjnettie, thats why im thinking about risking it all and doing the mod myself, just gotta hype myself up

27-07-2017, 02:02 PM
That the spirit.
Make sure you have a spot, bench or table, where you can work on it and be able to leave it...not the dining table in other words.
Take plenty of photos.
Have little jars or boxes to put bits in.
Don't force things right away.
Have a cuppa look think.
Post a daily report here so we can share your triumphs and pain.
Prepare a sign..."Professional belt conversion done here $100"
What does the kit cost at the moment with postage.

27-07-2017, 02:31 PM
about $200 shipped. pretty good price.

27-07-2017, 02:44 PM
Can I send you my mount and $300 when you finish yours.

I have been thinking of ordering one myself ...seriously.
But the buy a new one appeals ...just cause its new and I have not spent any money on me in years...

I took up racing motocross when young and I did not even know how a two stroke worked.
Cleaning the air filter was a big deal at first but after a while I could pull down a motor, split the crank case and rebuild it and tune it to race performance...so if a mug like me can develop skills it will be a walk in the park for you.


27-07-2017, 03:05 PM

I have installed my own belt drive mods on a number of different mount types and also the Rowan mod on my NEQ6. The Rowan kit is very well designed and made, however the NEQ6 mount is a particularly difficult mount to convert. This is because the drive end of motors is not accessible. Installation and adjustment of belts is a tricky business and can be extremely frustrating for anyone not well practiced at mechanical work.

I was dissatisfied with the lack of accessibility and installed windows on my mount to allow access for belt installation and adjustment (see attached photos). I also made a number of other mods to the NEQ6 such as a single knob for altitude adjustment and manual clamping of altitude setting, which are also shown in the photo's. Had ideas of offering the mods as a package for about $300 plus cost of Rowan kit but don't think many people would be interested, particularly since I am in Tasmania and shipping costs would be excessive.

I would estimate the time I would take me to install a Rowan kit without the other mods (windows etc) at about 6 hours - but I am very experienced at this kind of work and have a well equipped workshop. For someone learning as they go along it could well take 20 hours or more.

27-07-2017, 03:30 PM
Ok, this is my plan. Save $1800, enough to buy the EQ6-R, BUT dont buy it and try the mod myself. If I muck it up, ill still have enough money to get the EQ6-R, if i dont muck it up, ill have a belt mod EQ6 AND almost 2 grand to spend on other goodies :thumbsup:

27-07-2017, 05:07 PM
Tony why not pull it apart and replace the greese and clean it, polish stuff and generally make sure everything is as good as it can be.
I followed instructions from a guy in Spain and the instructions were in Spanish but that was probably ten years ago so I can't tell you the specifics of what he laid out.
But I had that mount running extremely well..I recall there was PE training which helped.
Anyways just putting in new really good greese and clean up will do two things...you will improve it I expect and secondly get a look at the inside.
There probably are high spots on the gear teeth you can clean and polish but pulling it apart and reassembling will be of benefit.

27-07-2017, 05:11 PM
I used a lite machine oil in the hope of reducing stickyness ,if any of the greese, reasoning that in the cold it may have been tacky.

27-07-2017, 05:12 PM
I think jjjnettie gave it a good once over with new grease before handing over the mount to me. So not too worried about old grease yet. I'm not having MAJOR issues with it yet so I'll wait and see.

27-07-2017, 05:19 PM
Hey don't look for excuses not to do it..look for excuses to pull it apart...that's the first step to become a mechanic.

From your photos it seems to deliver I was impressed how well it seemed to track.

27-07-2017, 08:03 PM
Agree with Alex. I'd ask JJJ how it used to track first. A belt mod is unlikely to reduce your total periodic error in RA too much. Its more about hopefully reducing backlash in PE, sometimes a gain from new worm bearings, and a lot quieter operation.

If Jeanette recently greased it up, you may have more to lose than gain with an overhaul. My older HEQ5Pro still tracks better than my belt modded NEQ6. Chinese mounts tend to be a bit of a lottery, and you might find yours is already running very well.

(Just remember if you flog it off for a new mount there is no guarantee the new mount will have super tight PE and tracking any better than what you have)

27-07-2017, 08:23 PM
when I was at wyralong a last saturday, the mount made a terrible griding noise that stalled the slew. happened to a few of the other people at the event. from what I've researched, i think its just sudden drop in temperature. If anyone else has any other suggestions that'd also be helpful

27-07-2017, 08:59 PM
Alex, others may need to chime in to confirm but I believe that the light machine oil will not stay on for a very long time and must be renewed regularly. I believe lithium grease is the mostly recommended lubricant for the mounts. And not a too thick layer or it will cause friction.

28-07-2017, 07:32 AM
The original grease in synta mounts was very stiff in the cold.
I took my mount apert and found it was a lovely simnia type grease. So it may have changed.

28-07-2017, 08:49 AM
I agree if you go for oil you need to do it often.
And I can't say my approach has any evidence that it is better than lithium greese..grease..but in my view greese is stickier and more so in the cold so I disagree with the recommendation...
MAYBE we could do a test.
We get two surfaces, polished brass plate, well four surfaces all up...put greese on one pair and lite oil on the other pair.
Then test to fetermine the force required to separate each of the two test units.
Repeat the tests at various tempratures to observe the difference.
Did I do that...no ...and I would not admit if I did.

The mount will be taken out of storage probably next week on my return to Sydney and I will pull it down for an inspection but I bet just sitting in a box dust will have got in..but it will be interesting to see if there is still a film of oil..


05-08-2017, 08:19 PM
I have just received my belt kit from Rowans. PLease see other thread
Where i have placed a link to a series of 15 youtube videos- that is what i will be using when doing mine.


06-08-2017, 02:21 AM
I used AstroBaby's guide to strip down the mount and the supplied instructions to fit the belts. I also took the opportunity to regrease, change the worm bearings and remove the excess paint. An important improvement to the tweezers provided with the kit was a rubber band that holds them closed and a thin stick like a thin chopstick. It needs to be thin enough to pass through the tweezers when they are held shut with the rubber band. Hold the belt tight with the stick. Pass the tweezers over the stick. Then drag the tweezers past the stick so they grab the belt. The rubber band lets the tweezers open enough for the stick to pass through then clamps them onto the belt.

16-08-2017, 10:27 AM
I thought I'd put my own oar in this thread since I've been referenced in earlier posts.

As Billdan says, I took me 24 hours spread over a week or so to do the mod but then, not happy with the results, I did it all again. And still not happy with the results, I have just finished a further bout with the beast.

What sparked off this third epic was my frustration with doing any kind of decent drift alignment. It was bouncing all over the place and was simply not going to cooperate. I figured I'd done some damage to something and decided to go down the path of eliminating the problem a step at a time.

First step was to re-do my true south. I did the solar noon plumb-bob thing and confirmed I had that set bank on. That wasn't the issue.

So off I went exploring. First step, finished today, was bearings. I'd already replaced the worm bearings so this time I also replaced ALL the internal bearings - all 8 of them. I went to SKF bearings since they are pretty darned good. They are easy to source and not too expensive. Cost about $240 for the lot.

I took the opportunity to also buy a bearing puller tool to make the process a bit less brutal.

And so in they went and I was in the process of reinstalling the motors - a real PITA with the NEQ6 as was noted right at the start of this thread - in the absence of those great little cutouts in the body that I wish I had seen before I started.

Anyway, as I was reinstalling the second motor, I could not get the backlash out of that axis. No matter how much I fiddled. AND THEN IT HAPPENED! I saw the bleedin' problem that had obviously been there all along. There was serious (and visible when I took the little end-plate off) play in the end of the worm shaft.

I'd tightened them up way back when I first installed the new worm bearings and had had not rechecked them since - assuming that was one job I had done and that didn't need checking. WRONG.

Somehow, a significant degree of play had crept into that end-cap thing that tightens down on the shaft. It was the obvious culprit and I'd be willing to bet my last pair of wooly sox that this was what has been causing the problems all along. More fool me.

Still, I now know a heck of a lot more about the inner workings of the NEQ6 and can reassemble one in record time - probably do it blindfolded (well not quite). Whacko.

If that doesn't resolve all other issues, I will probably replace the belt mod and switch right back to the original.


16-08-2017, 07:41 PM
I've got to share this - even though I end up being the brunt of my own joke - having been through all the convolutions in this and the related thread (The joys of doing a belt mod on an NEQ6), I have to finally claim to have solved the outstanding problems I have been writing about. But there is a final and unexpected problem - I don't know which of my "cures " actually worked.

I did a PHD2 Drift align tonight and managed to get a very acceptable result. And having done that, fired up Cartes du Ciel and did a few Go-To's with equally acceptable results. On-screen every time.

But now I will never know whether the new bearings did the trick, the regrease I did along the way or finding that wobbly worm gear end-play nut. I suspect the last one was the main - if not the sole - cure. But darn it. I'll never know.

But I now have a belt-mod'd NEQ6 that is as quiet as a mouse and does accurate go-to's and guides accurately. I don't want any more than that.


16-08-2017, 08:23 PM
Perseverance is it's own reward, well done! 👍

16-08-2017, 08:43 PM
Well done Peter, glad your happy after all that effort. As Einstein said once, success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration (something like that).


17-08-2017, 07:26 AM
Tony brought his mount round yesterday and I stripped it down and did a clean and check with a regrease. Dec axis was gritty.
But putting it together found the hour angle ring was binding.
I'm wondering if a previous regrease has mislaid a spacer ring.
However I filed 5 thou off the ring and it just runs free now.
I don't have a flat bar so I can't check the spacer requirement.
Better for now anyway.