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 Post subject: EQ-5 series mounts
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:37 am 
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In my book, a great combination of sturdiness and portablilty which should give good service for many years.
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File comment: My original EQ5 and lightweight tripod in 2009.
It's fitted with a polar-scope and dual-axis drives and the yellow lead is a 7m extension for remote-control from indoors.

eq5.JPG
eq5.JPG [ 31.46 KiB | Viewed 11451 times ]

I got my original EQ5 with a Helios 8" Newtonian (http://www.boltonastro.org.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=21) - rather a heavy 'scope for the mount (note the twin 5kg counterweights on the balance-arm), and the lightweight alloy tripod was way to "whackery" for this load. But when I replaced the tripod with a wooden one it was much better, and I see that the modern EQ5s usually come with a more sturdy tubular steel tripod.

The dual-axis motor kit was then around £70, but an RA drive makes observing much easier and is essential for imaging. I soon made an extension lead so that I could control it from inside the house whilst running my remote-control planetary imaging setup, and the hand-control can also be modified for auto-guiding inputs.
These days there is even a GoTo upgrade kit - but this uses completely different motors from the dual-axis drive, so if you're looking to upgrade an undriven EQ5 consider carefully whether to invest the extra and go straight for the GoTo system. (I actually upgraded my entire system, buying a second-hand Celestron CG5-AGT and then selling on my original EQ5.)

The polar-scope is an essential upgrade for imaging too, and the modern ones have a handy constellation guide on the reticule, which makes polar alignment much easier. See the notes here http://www.boltonastro.org.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=236&start=5 on installing the new-type unit with an integral hour-angle bezel.

At one time I had two EQ5s (one down in Bristol where I was living at the time, and a second one here in Bolton - so I only needed to carry a 'scope with me on weekend visits, rather than the complete system). As well as the 8" Newtonian, I used it with a 120mm refractor and my 8" SCT, and even with much smaller 'scopes its sturdiness makes things much easier compared to a lightweight EQ or AZ mount.
Attachment:
File comment: Getting my CG5-AGT ready for imaging with our prototype 1004x-JG camera and a Celestron C80 refractor at Kelling Heath in 2010.
cg5c80.jpg
cg5c80.jpg [ 211.49 KiB | Viewed 11451 times ]

By far the best value second-hand bargain I've seen is the one which Carl purchased at Kelling Heath a few years back - for just £80, complete with dual-axis motors and even a battery! There was a little rust on the bolts on the tripod and one of the altitude-set bolts was bent, but the mount itself worked fine. :D

Note that the simple dual-axis drive runs from 6V DC, but has the same co-axial power socket as many other 'scopes which run from 12V - so take care not to plug a 12V supply in by mistake, or you'll need a new hand-control! (We've actually modified Carl's to run off 12V, so that we can power it from any of our existing 12V batteries)


Last edited by rwilkinson on Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Added pictures and comment on voltage supply


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 Post subject: Re: EQ-5 series mounts
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:04 am 
I think that is the way I'm going to go.the money I receive from the sale of my Newtonian will go towards an EQ5 goto system.I think you'll agree my logic is sound (primarily add I've followed the advice here!!!) that if my platform is stable then it won't matter what scope I attach to it.
I wasn't aware until reading this that the motor drive units weren't compatible with a goto system & I'd have to replace them with different ones.
Do you think I'd be best waiting until I get to Kelling heath (better deals to be had/opportunity) before splashing out on an EQ5 - unless I drop on a gift in the meantime of course!!!


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 Post subject: Re: EQ-5 series mounts
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:15 am 
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Amartin wrote:
Do you think I'd be best waiting until I get to Kelling heath (better deals to be had/opportunity) before splashing out on an EQ5 - unless I drop on a gift in the meantime of course!!!

Well, you can't guarantee finding a bargain in Norfolk, so best keep looking around in the meantime - for example [url]http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?typechoice[]=Mount-Pier-Tripod[/url] - there was an almost-new (undriven) one sold in Fleetwood a few days ago for £150.

And there's currently one (undriven, but with polar-scope) in Leeds for £120:
http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?view=53659


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 Post subject: Re: EQ-5 series mounts
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:27 pm 
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Hi

Suject EQ5

Very interesting night at Sharples School tonight, sorry even more questions

If I got just the basic EQ5 mount with the polar scope is it easy to fit the GOTO later?

As I would not be able to leave it set up outside, I would keep it asembled and stored in the shed. Is this going to be a pain setting it up each time?

Thanks

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SkyWatcher HEQ5
Sky-Scan EQ3-2
Celestron C8
SkyWatcher 80ED Apro
Sky-Watcher Skymax-127 SynScan AZ GOTO
Canon 600D
Canon 400D
Opticstar PX-35C COOLAIR CCD camera


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 Post subject: Re: EQ-5 series mounts
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:56 am 
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Hi Bill

There are two kits to upgrade the EQ5. You can add the basic motor drives which only do the tracking I think they were around £70, and there is also the full Goto kit upgrade which is around £280

OpticStar - SynScan PRO GOTO for EQ5

The basic kit isn't compatible with the Goto and would need to be removed before adding the Goto. So if your planning on buying the Goto then its probably best to go straight for that.

Unlike last night when I did remove the head to get the mount in the car, I normally leave it set up. I just remove the eye peice tray and fold in two of the legs, leaving the one under the counter weights out for stability so it will stand against the wall. I know the orientation of the legs in my garden and I can now quickly carry it out and have it pointing North. The Az bolts and latitude bolts are left locked which is what sets up the head. I just release the clutches on the RA & Dec so the weights return the the home positon which makes it easier to carry with every thing all pointing in a straight line. Once set up in position its fairly quick to do any small fine tuning to re-align to the polar scope but for basic observing its not to importantant to be spot on and as last night I didn't even bother polar aligning. I just levelled the mount and pointed the North leg north.
edit - (I should have said I did this knowing my latitude and az wouldn't be too far out)

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Skywatcher Explorer 200P & EQ5


Last edited by poconnell on Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: EQ-5 series mounts
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:06 am 
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bbones wrote:
As I would not be able to leave it set up outside, I would keep it assembled and stored in the shed. Is this going to be a pain setting it up each time?


That's exactly what I do Bill.
In the shed I leave the tripod legs extended, but remove the counterweight (and the 'scope of course).
After a few night's experience I can now plonk the tripod down on the lawn accurately enough that Polaris is within the field of the polar-scope (an essential acccessory), and so it only takes a couple of minutes to line it up exactly and then add the counterweight and optical tube.


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 Post subject: Re: EQ-5 series mounts
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:16 am 
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Sounds like I'm getting a better understanding of the requirments as you say the polar scope is important and I get one if I bought the EQ5.

After last night at Sharples (what a great night) I have looked at my options and it's look like today's requitements lead me towards the Sky-Watcher Skymax 150 PRO as the I found the Sky-Watcher Explorer-200P a bit too big for portable use in the Caravan and the Sky-Watcher Skymax-127 SynScan AZ GOTO a bit wackery for Astrophotography.

Will keep you posted

Thanks for all your help

_________________
SkyWatcher HEQ5
Sky-Scan EQ3-2
Celestron C8
SkyWatcher 80ED Apro
Sky-Watcher Skymax-127 SynScan AZ GOTO
Canon 600D
Canon 400D
Opticstar PX-35C COOLAIR CCD camera


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 Post subject: Re: EQ-5 series mounts
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:15 pm 
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I just noticed that there's a shop-soiled EQ5 with tubular steel tripod and polarscope for under £200 in the Scopes'n'Skies Bargain Zone at the moment:
http://www.scopesnskies.com/bargain-zone.html


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 Post subject: Re: EQ-5 series mounts
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 6:35 pm 
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Quote:
By far the best value second-hand bargain I've seen is the one which Carl purchased at Kelling Heath a few years back - for just £80, complete with dual-axis motors and even a battery! There was a little rust on the bolts on the tripod and one of the altitude-set bolts was bent, but the mount itself worked fine.


A bargain indeed and never looked back!

Just trying to repair the bent bolts now.

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Eq6 Pro Mount
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I choose to image with an 11" SCT Celestron in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard......


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 Post subject: Re: EQ-5 series mounts
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:19 am 
My EQ5 has arrived, so I'll take great delight in getting it out of the box...just need a scope to sit on top of it now!!!
Would I be able to bolt my camera to it & use it as a tracking platform or am in dreaming territory?
Cheers
Andy


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