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Old 02-08-2019, 05:13 PM
pjphilli (Peter)
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HEQ5 Pro Problem

My HEQ5 Pro mount periodically stops working ie any attempt to move in Dec or Ra with the Synscan paddle does not slew the mount but a ticking/buzzing sound comes from the motors. It sometimes can be coaxed back into working by turning it off, manually returning the mount to the start position and going through the normal start up procedure with the paddle. however after a couple of more moves the mount stalls again. I recall that a similar thing occurred some time ago which I "cured" by unplugging all the motherboard plugs and cleaning them with Servisol. This trick did not work this time. I have checked and cleaned all the other plugs/sockets, checked that the 12volt supply always remains steady and replaced the paddle connection cable with a new eight pin RJ45 patchcord. The motors and gears are working freely. It almost seems that there is a "loose wire" but where?
I have seen some mention of a "factory reset" but can find no reference in the Instruction Manual.
Any ideas?
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Old 02-08-2019, 05:43 PM
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Adox (Adriano)
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I suspect the problem is in the board, probably the capacitors don't supply the right voltage so the motors stall. Probably is the board
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:07 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Ive used The HEQ5 for the passed ten years with no problems.
Id strongly suggest you recheck things using a voltage converter.
I use a Jaycar 12 to 15V 120w converter successfully of both my HEQ5 and NEQ6PRO.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:01 PM
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Adox (Adriano)
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That is a good point, check the amps and the voltage of the power supply.
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:32 AM
pjphilli (Peter)
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Thanks for these replies:
Problem appears to me that the stepper motors are not getting enough grunt so both your replies are relevant. The problem is intermittent since the mount will work fine and slew normally but then it suddenly stops. Maybe a loose connection etc but the electronic guts of the mount are a bit hard to get to.
Adrian
I have electronics experience so how do you suggest I could go about checking the capacitors?
Ken
I will follow up your advice to closely look at the voltage/current supply.The 12 volt power supply stands at 12.65volts on no load then drops to about 12.3 volts when the mount is slewing in both directions. I should monitor this closely to see what happens to the voltage/current when the mount stalls. I can also substitute a known good power supply. Maybe (hopefully) as simple as a power supply problem.
Peter
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:52 AM
dikman (Richard)
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Peter, the only way you can test a capacitor is by removing it from the cct, obviously not very practical. In general, if an electrolytic capacitor fails it's usually because it's dried out and often has a bulging top. Having said that, capacitors are usually pretty reliable and failure is normally due to extreme age or operating under harsh conditions.


Has this been working ok in the past and is the problem fairly recent? You haven't made any changes? If so it certainly sounds like a loose connection/dodgy joint somewhere, seeing that it's intermittent.
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Old 03-08-2019, 01:52 PM
pjphilli (Peter)
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Richard
I have not made any changes lately. It is significant that the stepper motors in both Dec and Ra fail at the same time so it must be something common to these. You would think that if it were a faulty or dried out capacitor that the problem would be there all the time but it is not a marginal problem - the mount works perfectly or not at all. It almost seems like it would be an intermittent power connection. It is a pity that with most equipment these days that a circuit diagram is not included in the handbook. I will look on the net and see if I can find one. I used to be a radio tech so I am fairly familiar with fault finding but the mount electronics are a bit hard to get at. Perhaps if I take the board right out I may be able to see what is happening behind it.
Peter
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Old 03-08-2019, 03:49 PM
dikman (Richard)
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Sounds like you've got a good idea of what you're doing then. I was in telecommunications, starting in the PMG Dept (my age is showing here!) and I've seen a few changes - from valves to digital ccts.


My first thought is the common factor is most likely power, based on what you just said. And I know what you mean about cct. diagrams, it's annoying when manufacturers don't provide that sort of info. (they used to, once upon a time). Unfortunately I see no way around having to dismantle it in order to check all the wiring. I've still found the occasional dry joint in things, works fine for years then poof, just stops working.
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:31 PM
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Adox (Adriano)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjphilli View Post
Adrian
I have electronics experience so how do you suggest I could go about checking the capacitors?
Ken
I will follow up your advice to closely look at the voltage/current supply.The 12 volt power supply stands at 12.65volts on no load then drops to about 12.3 volts when the mount is slewing in both directions. I should monitor this closely to see what happens to the voltage/current when the mount stalls. I can also substitute a known good power supply. Maybe (hopefully) as simple as a power supply problem.
Peter

Can you use a power supply with 13-15 V? SkyWatcher mounts work within a voltage range between 11V and 15V.If the power is too low, the LED will blink while slewing at the maximum rate.
You may check the capacitor but I rarely fixed your problem in other mounts replacing a capacitor.
Firstly I would change the power supply with another one that will supply a good amperage (2A) and voltage.
If this will not work, I would buy a replacement board from Telescope Express (Germany).
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:43 PM
dikman (Richard)
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Peter, I missed the bit where you said it either works or doesn't work (I read too fast sometimes!!). It's possible that you have an intermittent problem with your power supply, although I reckon that would be pretty unlikely. Adriano's suggestion to use a different power supply makes sense and would prove whether it's the ps. Do you have a spare battery or can you run a long lead from your car battery? I keep a couple of old PC power supplies around to use as, well, power supplies . They work well and can supply lots of amps at 12v and 5v.


Your initial description of the problem reminded me of issues I've had with low voltage to motors, they generally don't like it too much.
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Old 03-08-2019, 11:24 PM
raymo
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There is in fact a history of capacitor failures on these mounts; luckily it is
usually the same ones. If you remove the front cover of the mount the
board is seen mounted vertically, and the two large capacitors visible at
the bottom front of the board are the ones. If faulty they will be visibly
swollen [or blown]. If they are blown you can get replacements from Jaycar
for about a dollar each. If you end up doing the job yourself you will need a high temperature soldering iron. Its worth a look for the minute or so that it takes to remove the front cover.
raymo
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:35 PM
pjphilli (Peter)
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Thanks all for this additional advice. I will follow up all your suggestions. Since when the mount is working it is perfect but the sudden stops certainly seems like a power supply problem or loose wire/dry joint. I may have to get a new board as a last resort (gulp!).
Richard - I was a radio tech with OTC (probably about your vintage - a great place to work until Telstra took over!). I also have some converted 12volt PC power supplies and I will connect one with a SHORT lead. I suspect my present 12 volt lead may be a bit long although the voltage into the mount seems to hold up well under all loads.
Raymo - I have been able to take the motor and back plates off to get at the boards plugs/sockets. I certainly would like to have a good poke around the wires under the area where the 12volt/RJ45 etc plugs go. I was not aware that a front cover could be removed but I will have a good look.
PS - Yesterday I put the mount through a lot of paces in the daylight and it worked perfectly. I have done this before but it doesn't seem to like working in the dark!
Peter
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Old 12-08-2019, 03:00 PM
pjphilli (Peter)
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I got the front panel off the mount and had a good look around. All seemed good including the board capacitors. I then tried Richard's advice and connected a PC type power supply directly to the mount. The mount appeared to work normally after a lot of tests. The problem appears to be a connection hidden under my control trolley. Years ago I was given a good long dc lead which was intended for plugging into a car cigarette holder. I have never used it this way but used a floating cigarette type socket to connect it. As you know these plugs have a center contact tube which is spring loaded, making virtually a point contact and just asking for corrosion in the long term. I have got rid of this arrangement and hardwired the lead to the 12.5volt 5 amp power supply. I have also replaced the DC plug at the mount end with a new one. Testing shows that all is now ok, so thanks for your help.
Peter
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Old 13-08-2019, 11:05 AM
dikman (Richard)
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It's always nice when the problem turns out to be a fairly easy fix! Connectors are always a potential for problems. When I connected to the NBN I was having a lot of dropout issues and they kept wanting me to get someone in to check my cabling. I used to be qualified for domestic cabling and had wired my house so I knew what condition it was in but, of course, could not convince them of this. In the end I ran cat 6 cable direct from the lead in to the modem, so no connectors, and soldered it to the lead in! This caused some consternation amongst the so-called technicians who came out but I said there's no way the problem is in my house. I was right, they eventually replaced all the cable joints to the node!


Bloody NBN.
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Old 14-08-2019, 04:00 PM
pjphilli (Peter)
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Your advice to substitute the PC power supply soon led me to the problem. Substitution is a good fault finding method. Agree re NBN. I had a problem with my Optus broadband last week. After a lot of dithering around between NBN and Optus they came to the conclusion that my modem was the problem - not to worry we will send you a new one in five working days! I told the tech that it didn't look like a modem problem but give me 10 minutes while I get a couple of replacement connecting cables from my junk box. Problem fixed - so where do I send the bill? They gave me $20 off to compensate for my downtime!
"Oh brave new world that hath such people in it!"
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Old 14-08-2019, 06:49 PM
dikman (Richard)
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Good grief!! Didn't anyone suggest replacing the cables first? I spent 3 months arguing with Optus' no-help desk when they tried to connect my NBN and lost my landline number. Their facebook help people were no better. Eventually got the ombudsman involved and got $2000 compensation from Optus - and went elsewhere for my NBN!


Component substitution is the first best method for trying to resolve electrical faults.
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Old 16-08-2019, 03:15 PM
pjphilli (Peter)
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Optus were a good organisation until the advent of the NBN - now they are hopeless but people tell me that other organisations are just as bad. Where are you connected now and are you happy with it?
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Old 16-08-2019, 08:30 PM
dikman (Richard)
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I'm with a mob called Tangerine Telecom, and yes, I guess I'm pretty happy overall. I had a lot of issues at the start (NBN cable problems that I mentioned) and while their help desk is in the Philippines I've found them to be very good (they actually know what they're talking about with minimal language problems). The biggest problem is that you have to go through them to lodge a fault with the NBN, you can't talk to the NBN itself and it's very frustrating (for the ISP as well) trying to get a fault fixed.


The NBN is actually a debacle, the cable network that they "inherited" from Telstra is a mess and they're spending inordinate amounts of time and money trying to patch it up, which isn't helped by the lack of records for the cable network. Most of this problem, of course, is due to the short-sighted attitude of the Liberal Party when they decided to scrap FTTP. We will always have a 3rd. rate network because of this decision.


I'd better get off my soapbox, I tend to get wound up when the subject of the NBN is raised.
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Old 17-08-2019, 02:43 PM
pjphilli (Peter)
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Thanks Richard - I will keep Tangerine in mind if I finally get sick of Optus!
Peter
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