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Old 03-03-2018, 05:08 PM
Cellmend (Justin)
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Beginner AP Looking for a mount

Hi Guys
This is my first post & hit at AP, i am currently looking for a suitable mount to take care of my astro photography process. i have been looking at the HEQ5 in used condition as suggested for a minimum entry level but also stumbled across a AZ EQ6 GT (used) that is kind of in my price range too.Obviously bigger is always better so im opting for this mount instead of the HEQ5. My first question is are they a quality mount with minimal issues? Ive done a little research on the mount and know that a bigger payload is great as i am thinking i can bolt on many types of scopes on at any given situation AP or just casual observing but my main concern is that its belt driven could anyone comment on this type of drive and the build of this mount for better or for worse.
Thanks
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Old 03-03-2018, 05:38 PM
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The Mekon (John Briggs)
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Justin - are you looking at the NEQ6 in the classifieds? If so you will need to add a pier or tripod to complete. Looks like a good buy for a prospective AP rig.
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Old 03-03-2018, 05:51 PM
Cellmend (Justin)
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Originally Posted by The Mekon View Post
Justin - are you looking at the NEQ6 in the classifieds? If so you will need to add a pier or tripod to complete. Looks like a good buy for a prospective AP rig.
Hi John yes i made an inquiry on the NEQ6 in the classifieds but haven't had a response from the seller as yet. I did notice that it only had a pier mount included in that sale and was happy with that. I have a local source that is selling a AZ EQ6 GT locally atm and im very interested in it also.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:45 PM
kens (Ken)
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I don't have the AZ EQ6 GT but I do have a EQ6 Pro with belt mod. Many people mod their EQ6 to belt drive. It certainly is no worse than before but its hard to say if it made a significant improvement. At minimum its quieter, at best it had helped a bit with dec backlash and with the annoying 122s periodic error in RA.
This class of mount is perfectly adequate but one would probably not classify them as a "quality" mount.
My newest mount is fully belt driven and is a quality mount but cost considerably more than my EQ6.
Overall I would not have any concerns about a mount being belt driven.
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:03 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
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Hi Justin, I have an AZEQ6GT on a Berlebach Planet tripod (better than the SW one).

The Skywatcher, iOptron and Celestron mounts are a compromise between price and functionality, with cast alloy components and a cheap paint job compared to what say Losmandy, Mesu or AP produce.

In essence expect 10 years use before either (a) something fails and aren't economically repairable, or (b) the technology moves on to such an extent you realise its time to replace it anyway even if it is still working.

The most likely bits to fail are cables, connectors and electronics, and its evident that fairly soon the cables will be ditched for WiFi/Bluetooth (long overdue IMHO). At present the wireless solutions available are somewhat half-assed (dongles hanging on pigtails) though it won't be long before a decent solution is sorted out and old-school handsets are abandoned - superseded by smartphone apps.

OTOH an AP mount will probably last you a lifetime.
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:53 PM
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Camelopardalis (Dunk)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavytone View Post
OTOH an AP mount will probably last you a lifetime.
But the AP mount will cost about 5x the EQ6, so in the end it’s pretty even
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  #7  
Old 04-03-2018, 08:59 AM
Cellmend (Justin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kens View Post
I don't have the AZ EQ6 GT but I do have a EQ6 Pro with belt mod. Many people mod their EQ6 to belt drive. It certainly is no worse than before but its hard to say if it made a significant improvement. At minimum its quieter, at best it had helped a bit with dec backlash and with the annoying 122s periodic error in RA.
This class of mount is perfectly adequate but one would probably not classify them as a "quality" mount.
My newest mount is fully belt driven and is a quality mount but cost considerably more than my EQ6.
Overall I would not have any concerns about a mount being belt driven.
Thanks for your reply Ken
The Avalon mount you own is an awesome bit of kit mate, it instantly reminded me of a scaled down robot arm that works in Elon Musks giga factory! wish i had the coin to get one of them bad boys that's for sure.The mount im looking at hasn't had a belt mod yet so it might be something i will look into in the future.Is there really any difference between the AZ EQ6 GT & the EQ6 pro? I see little differences like screws bolts and the AZ feature but that's it right?
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:08 AM
Cellmend (Justin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavytone View Post
Hi Justin, I have an AZEQ6GT on a Berlebach Planet tripod (better than the SW one).

The Skywatcher, iOptron and Celestron mounts are a compromise between price and functionality, with cast alloy components and a cheap paint job compared to what say Losmandy, Mesu or AP produce.

In essence expect 10 years use before either (a) something fails and aren't economically repairable, or (b) the technology moves on to such an extent you realise its time to replace it anyway even if it is still working.

The most likely bits to fail are cables, connectors and electronics, and its evident that fairly soon the cables will be ditched for WiFi/Bluetooth (long overdue IMHO). At present the wireless solutions available are somewhat half-assed (dongles hanging on pigtails) though it won't be long before a decent solution is sorted out and old-school handsets are abandoned - superseded by smartphone apps.

OTOH an AP mount will probably last you a lifetime.
Thanks for your reply Wavytone, id be happy with 10 years. i did read somewhere about the tripod being under engineered for this mount and the payload limit.On that note what is the most weight you use on your mount connected to your pier mate?
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  #9  
Old 04-03-2018, 11:41 AM
Wavytone (Nick)
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My scope OTA is 15 kg and to that add possibly 2-3kg with bits and pieces.

The Berlebach Planet is stiffer than the SW tripod and in addition it damps vibration faster and is taller. The planet tripod is bigger than it looks in photos...
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Old 04-03-2018, 12:25 PM
Cellmend (Justin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavytone View Post
My scope OTA is 15 kg and to that add possibly 2-3kg with bits and pieces.

The Berlebach Planet is stiffer than the SW tripod and in addition it damps vibration faster and is taller. The planet tripod is bigger than it looks in photos...
Ahh ok sorry mate i read your post wrong i thought your mount was connected to a pier. 17kg+ sounds promising, 20kg is the payload specs for the mount & i guess i should factor in a better tripod like the one you have mentioned too. I would like to connect a Dob to this mount for a first scope and get my feet wet in AP until i can save for a decent OTA like the ED100 then keep the dob for visual only later. Do you think this is a good way to go? im thinking an 8"-10" should be ok?
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Old 04-03-2018, 12:53 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
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Justin, hmm. I’m a visual observer - no cameras come near this scope. There are others here that use the same mount for AP.

I can say this mount is overkill with an ED100, it can take a 150 mm refractor fine, and I know there are some doing AP with 8”-10” scopes on lesser mounts, so yes, it’s definitely feasible.
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  #12  
Old 04-03-2018, 03:44 PM
Cellmend (Justin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavytone View Post
Justin, hmm. I’m a visual observer - no cameras come near this scope. There are others here that use the same mount for AP.

I can say this mount is overkill with an ED100, it can take a 150 mm refractor fine, and I know there are some doing AP with 8”-10” scopes on lesser mounts, so yes, it’s definitely feasible.
I could probably only ever afford a 100mm refractor i think. A 150mm would be way out of my price range unless something great happens to my financial situation.
It probably is over kill though but gives me flexibility in case id like to swap between AP & visual obs like you do.
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Old 04-03-2018, 06:59 PM
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doppler (Rick)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellmend View Post
I would like to connect a Dob to this mount for a first scope and get my feet wet in AP until i can save for a decent OTA like the ED100 then keep the dob for visual only later. Do you think this is a good way to go? im thinking an 8"-10" should be ok?
Stick your mount on a pier and your only payload limitation is the power of the mounts motors. I have a 10" dob mounted on a Heq5 pro, the only drawback is, if it's a bit breezy it's not good for imaging.
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Old 04-03-2018, 08:37 PM
kens (Ken)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellmend View Post
Thanks for your reply Ken
The Avalon mount you own is an awesome bit of kit mate, it instantly reminded me of a scaled down robot arm that works in Elon Musks giga factory! wish i had the coin to get one of them bad boys that's for sure.The mount im looking at hasn't had a belt mod yet so it might be something i will look into in the future.Is there really any difference between the AZ EQ6 GT & the EQ6 pro? I see little differences like screws bolts and the AZ feature but that's it right?
The AZ EQ6 can operate in alt azimuth mode which is only useful if you are interested in that. The altitude adjustment is quite different. A improvement on the EQ6 Pro and NEQ6 adjustments.
If it were me I would go with the AZ EQ6 GT to get the factory fitted belt drive and improved altitude adjustment.
With an 8” RC and guidescope I considered the EQ6 to be at its limit. An 8” Newtonian would be ok even though it is longer but I think a 10” is pushing it. Note that a dobsonian is a type of mount not OTA. The OTA on a dobsonian mount is a Newtonian reflector.
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Old 05-03-2018, 06:59 AM
Wavytone (Nick)
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Another minor difference - the dec axis is thicker so counterweights are not interchangeable with those for an EQ6.
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:22 AM
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ZeroID (Brent)
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I have the SW EQ6 Pro, no belt mod. I stripped and cleaned it, regreased the drives and reassembled and it's been pretty reliable since. It's carrying a Lunt 102mm ED F7 scope, 80F5 guide scope and associated cameras quite comfortably. Total load about 15kg I'd guess. It has carried a 10F5 newt before but it was my rebuilt Serrurier which only weighed 11.5 kg. It would be pushing the limits if it was a solid OTA I'd say. I've just completed an 8F6 build which should be a better match to the mount, we'll soon see.

That all being said, carrying heavier rigs is more about balance than total weight, within reason of course. Mine is on a very solid pier in an observatory, You would struggle with an exposed tripod setup subject to wind and other external influences.

I'm happy with my EQ6 for the price and performance, it should last quite a few more years yet and it was second hand when I got it. Belt Mod ? Hmmm, maybe but more money and downtime. Having the permanent setup in the tin shed ob has been the biggest factor. No alignment, no lugging it out, setting it up. I don't need the AZ capability.
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:53 AM
Cellmend (Justin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doppler View Post
Stick your mount on a pier and your only payload limitation is the power of the mounts motors. I have a 10" dob mounted on a Heq5 pro, the only drawback is, if it's a bit breezy it's not good for imaging.
Nice setup there Doppler! I was scanning through the forum and found your profile earlier yesterday and was going to PM you for a pic of your rig as I seen in other posts that you use a Newt for imaging. I would like to go this way for AP work first as I have read in my research here that there are other issues or (not as easy) to image with newts compared to refractor OTA but price is a big factor for me and I would love big DIA for my dollar which is why I am heading in this direction.
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:56 AM
Cellmend (Justin)
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Originally Posted by kens View Post
The AZ EQ6 can operate in alt azimuth mode which is only useful if you are interested in that. The altitude adjustment is quite different. A improvement on the EQ6 Pro and NEQ6 adjustments.
If it were me I would go with the AZ EQ6 GT to get the factory fitted belt drive and improved altitude adjustment.
With an 8” RC and guidescope I considered the EQ6 to be at its limit. An 8” Newtonian would be ok even though it is longer but I think a 10” is pushing it. Note that a dobsonian is a type of mount not OTA. The OTA on a dobsonian mount is a Newtonian reflector.
Ok I think I'm sold on this mount now thanks to your feedback mate much appreciated & yeah I've got a habit of saying Dob lol
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:58 AM
Cellmend (Justin)
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Originally Posted by Wavytone View Post
Another minor difference - the dec axis is thicker so counterweights are not interchangeable with those for an EQ6.
Taken on board mate another hurdle I wasn't aware of this
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Old 05-03-2018, 09:02 AM
Cellmend (Justin)
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Originally Posted by ZeroID View Post
I have the SW EQ6 Pro, no belt mod. I stripped and cleaned it, regreased the drives and reassembled and it's been pretty reliable since. It's carrying a Lunt 102mm ED F7 scope, 80F5 guide scope and associated cameras quite comfortably. Total load about 15kg I'd guess. It has carried a 10F5 newt before but it was my rebuilt Serrurier which only weighed 11.5 kg. It would be pushing the limits if it was a solid OTA I'd say. I've just completed an 8F6 build which should be a better match to the mount, we'll soon see.

That all being said, carrying heavier rigs is more about balance than total weight, within reason of course. Mine is on a very solid pier in an observatory, You would struggle with an exposed tripod setup subject to wind and other external influences.

I'm happy with my EQ6 for the price and performance, it should last quite a few more years yet and it was second hand when I got it. Belt Mod ? Hmmm, maybe but more money and downtime. Having the permanent setup in the tin shed ob has been the biggest factor. No alignment, no lugging it out, setting it up. I don't need the AZ capability.
Thanks for your input Zero,
Could you post a link or pic of your shed setup? I would love to see it mate? I'm also looking at 2nd hand and would like to know what you paid for yours if that's ok? Just so I know I'm in the same ballpark for a used one of these. Yep I don't think the AZ feature is the selling point of the one I'm currently looking at but its there at the same dollars so why not I'm thinking.

Last edited by Cellmend; 05-03-2018 at 09:12 AM. Reason: Added more txt
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