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  #1  
Old 17-01-2018, 05:30 PM
Aceman1972
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Skywatcher Az-eq6GT

Hi All

Just a question regarding the Skywatcher Az-eq6GT.
I have read some past forums regarding this or earlier form of mount.
Im looking at purchasing one of these & was just after some feedback

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 17-01-2018, 07:57 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
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All good - in the end.

I bought mine from Bintel and it was just as well because the original unit that arrived was faulty and Bintel replaced it for another. No argument.

I was tempted to buy either an iOptron iEQ45 or a Losmandy GM811G but the lack of decent local support was a concern - if anything is not right the shipping costs to return are prohibitive and basically you could end up having paid for little more than a useless pile of metal. OTOH the EQ6 and AZEQ6 are common, local support from Bintel/Tasco is good, plenty of parts and spares and Skywatcher have shown some ability to update the firmware to remove bugs occasionally, so the chances of getting a useful life of say 10 years or so are quite good.

Last year I was somewhat skeptical at the capacity of the EQ6 series mounts but I had an opportunity to try my 7" f/15 Mak on an older EQ6, which worked fine. The AZEQ6 is a bit better in a few respects - larger RA worm, vastly improved altitude adjuster and beefier dec axis. After upgrading to my current scope (Santel MK91, 228 aperture, 3100 focal length, weight 15kg) the AZEQ6 I bought carries this easily and is a pleasure to use.

It slews fast and quietly (its not a coffee-grinder !), GOTO works well enough, though the resolution could benefit from finer encoders (hint: Skywatcher you really need to step up to 300,000 step encoders) and as for the SynScan user interface... well its very dated like a bad 1990's game handset, but it does work well enough.

It also works fine in EQ or AZ modes, no issues.

Regarding power supply, Bintel did advise do NOT try to run this off the PowerTank or similar LiPO gadgets - they simply do not have the capacity to supply the PEAK current required when slewing - the result being the motors will stall. In my case I use a 9AH SLA battery to power mine (from BatteryWorld in Chatswood) and this is perfect for a nights observing, though note if you want to supply dew heaters , laptops or other power-hungry devices you will need a bigger battery capacity. BatteryWorld can supply a charger and very kindly knocked up a cable with crimp lugs and a female socket to suit.

Disappointment :

... the secondary mount for use in AZ mode, to attach a second scope on the dec axis in a side-by-side set up. IMHO Skywatcher did a really half-assed job and it is utterly useless. The base only provides a crude adjustment in altitude - it lacks any means of alignment in the azimuth direction. Worse, even if you have succeeded in aligning the second scope with the main one, as the mount moves around the sky there is slop somewhere in the dec axis that allows misalignment to occur, of the order of 2 degrees. If you want a 2-scope setup this means either the second scope should ride piggy-back using scope rings, or use a sturdy side-by-side bar; the downside is the need for a larger counterweight on the opposite side.

Minor niggle:

In the Synscan firmware there are two cryptic settings which are not explained in the manual and the handset will nag you needlessly during the alignment. After poking around the intertubes I eventually found out these relate to cone error in the mount and how to disable the nagging.


Opportunity for improvement #1:

The Synscan handset has a feeble plastic bracket that clips on one leg of the tripod. It is very fiddly and annoying to use in the dark. A better solution is to put some velcro on the back of the handset and slap it on more convenient places like the side of the mount or hang it off the back of the scope.

Opportunity for improvement #2:

The polar axis is hollow and the mount as supplied comes with a polar axis scope in there - and its quite a neck-breaker to use. Better to remove the scope and install a laser pointer so you can see where the polar axis is pointing and align visually with Octans - you can easily get within a fraction of degree. Those in the northern hemisphere could aim at Polaris and be good to go. It's the first really good application I've found for a laser pointer and this is so easy it's ridiculous, no need to peek through a really awkward polar scope.

Opportunity for improvement #3:

Tripod. Standard Skywatcher heavy-duty stainless-steel one, best described as adequate but the AZEQ6 mount deserves better. The trouble with steel tripods is that they ring like a bell if the scope is tapped - ie vibrate. I bought a Berlebach Planet, you could try a Geoptik Hercules. The point being these big wooden tripods are stiffer than the Skywatcher one, and offer vastly superior damping for vibration. The result is quite remarkably better stiffness from the mount, but additional $$$.

Whether this is warranted depends on the scope you intend to put on top.

Counterweights:

With a 15kg scope I'm at the limit of the dec axis with the two 5kg counterweights as supplied. If your scope is heavier you'll need a third, or there is another way - acquire another dec shaft (they will screw into each other end to end) and extend its length.

Portability:

For me this is a must - at my local observing site I have to transport the gear approx 100m from car to the middle of an oval. I'm not as young as I used to be and the solution is a folding trolley from Bunnings; the mount is in one box, the counterweights and battery in a second box.

FWIW I am a strictly visual observer - no imaging.

Last edited by Wavytone; 17-01-2018 at 09:07 PM.
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  #3  
Old 17-01-2018, 08:12 PM
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Camelopardalis (Dunk)
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Imaging-wise, I know serveral owners and they have proven themselves to be solid work horses. I have the NEQ6 which is a consistent performer.

One owner I know occasionally images with a Edge HD 11” onboard and it guides beautifully.
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  #4  
Old 17-01-2018, 08:12 PM
Aceman1972
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Hi Wavytone

Thank you for your valuable information
I currently run on a HEQ5 pro

I will take your information on with great respect

Thank you
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  #5  
Old 17-01-2018, 08:14 PM
Aceman1972
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Hi Dunk

Thank you for your information
It is greatly appreciate

Thank you
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  #6  
Old 17-01-2018, 09:14 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
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Agreed - guiding at 600X is beautiful even without an auto guider.
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  #7  
Old 17-01-2018, 10:58 PM
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barx1963 (Malcolm)
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I am running the Orion version (Atlas AZEQ-G) which is identical apart from colour and labelling.
It has proved an excellent mount for both visual imaging puposes. I ditched the handset and mainly use EQMOD via a Bluetooth connection and SGP for plate solving and it works fine that way. Polar alignment is very easy with the better designed adjustment system compared to the old NEQ6 or my old HEQ5. I regularly guide with total RMS in PHD of 0.65" which works out fine at the image scale I am using.

Other nice points. The power connector is threaded, dual encoders mean you can manually move the mount without losing alignment (useful if you need to check balance in the middle of an imaging run) and it is nice and quiet.

Malcolm
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  #8  
Old 17-01-2018, 11:03 PM
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barx1963 (Malcolm)
Bright the hawk's flight

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One other point, unless you are really needing the Azimuth mode, perhaps consider the EQ6-R. Has most of the improvements of the AZEQ mount but a little cheaper. I tried mine once in AZ mode to check it works, never bothered since.

Malcolm
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  #9  
Old 18-01-2018, 05:51 AM
Aceman1972
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Hi Malcolm

Appreciate your information.
I was looking at the eq6 also.
A lot to think about

Cheers
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  #10  
Old 18-01-2018, 07:01 AM
Premordial (Max)
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My imaging rig is an AZEQ6GT with ED80. Been reliable after 2 years. I carry the mount/scope together about 7 metres to the garden for each session. Bit awkward but just doable for me. Quiet slews. Basic hand controller but does the job well enough. Used to feed the mount from a lead acid, and now have an AC to 12v transformer, both work well.
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  #11  
Old 18-01-2018, 08:11 AM
Aceman1972
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Cheers Max

👍
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  #12  
Old 18-01-2018, 09:36 AM
Kunama
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I use mine only in Alt/Az mode and find it to be one of the best options....
There are not many mounts with full GoTo that work in A/A mode and handle a decent payload.

Wavy brought up some good point that I agree with completely:
Dual mount option is more of a gimmick than a goer
Tripod is best described as 'rather ordinary', half cooked pasta comes to mind
Hand control is OK but not great

But for me the mount works well enough for my visual pursuits.
Tracking and GoTo are reasonably accurate providing that you choose your alignment stars wisely and centre them well during alignment.

I use the two star alignment with stars at altitudes between 30 and 60 and separated in azimuth by at least 120,
I centre them by setting them to drift through the centre and hit the enter as they are centred in my Baader illuminated reticle eyepiece.

I tried using the second saddle for dual mounting and found it was a waste of time for anything other than a very wide field scope.
I now have two OTAs on the same side and a single 10.5Kg counterweight.
(I still need to make a decent 'L' bracket, the prototype has proved the concept but cannot deal with the weight and flexes far too much...

I also replaced the base part to raise the mount head to get better clearance from the tripod.

I think I will be replacing the Synscan with the NexusDSC/iPad-Mini in the near future...

I power mine from a 16Ah LiFePo Golf Cart battery installed in my DIY battery box... works beautifully....
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  #13  
Old 18-01-2018, 11:32 AM
Aceman1972
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Hi Matt

One of many reasons I was thinking of purchasing this mount was for the altitude adjustment appears to be more robust & smoother for polar alignment purposes.
I have not had chance to goto bintel to look at one, but it looks easier.

Thanks
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  #14  
Old 18-01-2018, 11:54 AM
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Camelopardalis (Dunk)
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Yeah the altitude adjustment of the original NEQ6 was/is awful. The AZEQ6 and EQ6-R employ a different tactic. I replaced my altitude adjustment with the EQ6wedge. Works well enough, although all things considered it isn’t the cheapest way to achieve the desired result.
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  #15  
Old 18-01-2018, 12:09 PM
Aceman1972
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Thanks Dunk
👍
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  #16  
Old 21-01-2018, 11:33 AM
TareqPhoto (Tareq)
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Maybe i am late to respond here, but i can say that i am a beginner, and the first thing i bought for astrophotography was this mount, i bought it back in April, and it is really a nice mount, i love it, even i look for very heavy scopes so needing another mount but i am a beginner and this mount will hold anything you throw on it within its capacity limits.

EQMOD is definitely a nice thing to use this mount with, and if you want to make life easier you can add a Polemaster too, i didn't like the built-in polar finder and i hope i won't use it at all forever.

AZ/Alt mode is also an addiction, i enjoyed gazing around the sky with this mode, not harm to have anyway, always as features 2 is better than one if both are useful anyway, i looked at EQ6 Pro or EQ6-R or even NEQ6 and my decision at the end went for AZ-EQ6.
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  #17  
Old 25-01-2018, 11:54 AM
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that_guy (Tony)
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Another thing to note that wasn't mentioned yet is that if you're above a certain latitude, you'll need a pier extension for your tripod as the counterweight shaft will start hitting the tripod leg.
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  #18  
Old 25-01-2018, 04:28 PM
Aceman1972
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Thanks guys for your information

Its been very informative

Cheers
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