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Thread: Super Secret SmartEQ mods...shhhh

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    Default Super Secret SmartEQ mods...shhhh



    Well, not really super secret, just some things you can do to make your life a little easier when operating the mount. I know several people own them on the forum, and several others have ordered them, so this one's for you.

    Don't even think about performing a polar scope to mount alignment routine unless you do this, you will fail miserably and be very disappointed in yourself... There is just no way to keep the polar scope aligned axially with the mount without tightening everything up. Refer to the polar scope alignment manual on iOptron's website...it's listed along with the accessory polar scope ad.

    Just thought of a mental note: To get the polar scope reticle perfectly square, you must loosen the RA lock knob, rotate the mount in RA until the crosshairs are vertical and horizontally aligned, then lock the knob. NOW rotate the mount in RA using the SLEW buttons to get it back to your mount zero point. That procedure had me scratching my head for a few minutes.

    The most important, and necessary thing you will have to do is epoxy the upper tripod legs to the tripod sockets. Don't even think about not doing it. I used 2 part, quick setting epoxy from Ace Hardware. You will need some applicators (popsicle sticks) and some mineral oil or acetone to clean excess epoxy off the mount (and your fingers). At the bottom of each socket, there is a 3mm hole..plug it up with a piece of masking tape or suffer the drips of epoxy leaking out like I did. You will have to remove the spreader to perform this mod, easy stuff..screwdriver and pliers.

    2.JPG

    You may want to do something to ensure you always have a quick way to get back to your mount zero point (like when you accidentally unplug the mount during a slew) I used labels, you can try painting the raised lines on the mount also.

    1.JPG

    Here's another must do...the mount boss has too much play in the tripod recess, I was going to fabricate an alloy plate with a taper to eliminate the play, but found a 10 cent way to do it. I used 3M electrical tape #330, just wrap a length around the bottom of the mount boss to remove almost all of the play. It will still be loose enought to rotate in RA, but won't drive you crazy when you have to loosen the RA lock to adjust azimuth. If you don't do this, it's one step forward, two steps back when trying to polar align or when aligning the polar scope to the mount axis.

    4.JPG

    Here's a mod which is not limited to the SmartEQ...any polar scope will benefit. Remove the sloppy fitting polar scope and wrap a turn of Teflon Pipe Tape around the very fine threads. Re-install and enjoy. No more 3-5 degrees of movement when adjusting focus or accidentally touching it with your big eyebrows (guilty as charged) when performing a polar align.

    3.JPG

    Here's some common sense stuff, like what to do with the handset instead of watching it swing in the breeze.

    5.JPG

    Oh, another mental flash...the polar scope illumination is a bit bright, even at the lowest setting. Go give your wife a kiss and ask to borrow her red nail polish. Remove the top cover (4 screws) and dab the led with the nail polish, give it as many coats as you like to get the illumination to your liking. Nail polish remover is your friend. Oh, and if your don't have a wife, but still have red nail polish, you don't need to worry about a kiss....

    I hope this info is of help to SmartEQ and EQ Pro owners and future owners.

    Clear skies all,

    Paul
    Life's a journey, enjoy the ride
    OTA's: Borg 125SD, AR152mm, ES152mm Comet Hunter Orion xx14g , SVR90T-AP, AT6RC, AT10RC, Borg 60ED. Borg 50mm Achro
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    Default Re: Super Secret SmartEQ mods...shhhh

    And here's an image of my "grab 'n go" setup, complete with Paint Shop narrations.

    6.JPG

    Cheers,

    Paul
    dynamo, Ruud and heuristics.c like this.
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    OTA's: Borg 125SD, AR152mm, ES152mm Comet Hunter Orion xx14g , SVR90T-AP, AT6RC, AT10RC, Borg 60ED. Borg 50mm Achro
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    Default Re: Super Secret SmartEQ mods...shhhh

    Looking forward to getting my SmartEQ Pro. Thanks for all the tips!
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    Default Re: Super Secret SmartEQ mods...shhhh

    Great tips Paul. I don't have that mount but I'm keeping this link just in case.
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    Bill
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    Default Re: Super Secret SmartEQ mods...shhhh

    These are excellent secrets. Thanks!
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    Default Re: Super Secret SmartEQ mods...shhhh

    Quote Originally Posted by olddogg60 View Post
    Great tips Paul. I don't have that mount but I'm keeping this link just in case.
    Just in case..."Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells...." ? Eh...the tripod epoxy works with any entry level mount, and the polar scope mod with any mount with a thread on focuser.

    Thanks Bill...oh, thanks for the potatos too....lol.

    Paul
    Life's a journey, enjoy the ride
    OTA's: Borg 125SD, AR152mm, ES152mm Comet Hunter Orion xx14g , SVR90T-AP, AT6RC, AT10RC, Borg 60ED. Borg 50mm Achro
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    Default Re: Super Secret SmartEQ mods...shhhh

    This is great stuff, Paul!

    I received my SmartEQ (non-guiding version) today, along with a large downpour and rain and clouds predicted for the next 7 days or so

    But hey, that means I have time to do the mods!!!!

    Yes, and I can personally vouch for the teflon tape treatment -- worked wonders on the polar scope in my CGEM.

    Thanks again, and of course, that is one sweeet set up with the Borg and all
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    Default Re: Super Secret SmartEQ mods...shhhh

    I received my SmartEQ (non-guiding version) today, along with a large downpour and rain and clouds predicted for the next 7 days or so

    But hey, that means I have time to do the mods!!!!
    Excellent Albert..! Except for those monsoon rains you're getting out there... The tripod leg epoxy fix is a given, no matter what. The electrical tape on the mount boss is too. Do both before using the mount. Especially if you got the optional polar scope. Oh yeah, might as well find the nail polish too if you have the scope.

    Have a bunch of fun with it Albert, grats.

    Paul
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    Default Re: Super Secret SmartEQ mods...shhhh

    Great thread Paul; a definite sticky.

    BTW the epoxy fix is great for the Celestron SLT and SkyWatcher SynScan AZ tripods too.
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    Default Re: Super Secret SmartEQ mods...shhhh

    Quote Originally Posted by sxinias View Post
    Great thread Paul; a definite sticky.

    BTW the epoxy fix is great for the Celestron SLT and SkyWatcher SynScan AZ tripods too.
    Thanks Joe, it was your info I used to epoxy the legs, based on your experiences with the Celestron equipment. Must be the same manufacturer in China that supplies tripods to all the various mount makers...? It certainly works to get rid of all the 'twisting' motion when an OTA is mounted up.

    Cheers,

    Paul
    Life's a journey, enjoy the ride
    OTA's: Borg 125SD, AR152mm, ES152mm Comet Hunter Orion xx14g , SVR90T-AP, AT6RC, AT10RC, Borg 60ED. Borg 50mm Achro
    Mounts: iOptron CEM60EC, iEQ45, ZEQ25, Mini Tower Pro, SEQ Pro.
    Misc: Lots of EP's. Nikon D5100, Canon T3i, ATF2FF , GSO Coma Corrector. SSAG, QHY5L-II & Lodestar
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