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Thread: Imaging upgrade: HEQ5 Pro Belt Drive Mod - ordered

  1. #1
    Phil Leigh's Avatar
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    Default Imaging upgrade: HEQ5 Pro Belt Drive Mod - ordered



    I've just ordered the conversion kit for my mount to eliminate the spur gears and make it belt drive (like the AZ6) - see here:Rowan Astronomy
    The nice thing about this kit is:
    1) reasonably priced
    2) totally reversible - no drilling or filing
    3) retains original reduction ratios so hand controller and EQMOD work perfectly as before.

    I'm hoping this will smooth out the primary component of my PE a little which in turn will lead to smoother PHD graphs and more consistency at 15 minute+ subs - which I now need for narrowband imaging with my "DSLR"...
    I'll keep you posted. A similar (but slightly more complex) kit is available for the EQ6 mounts.
    Cheers and Happy New Year!
    Phil
    Gaztro likes this.
    Telescope: SWEquinox ED80 Pro (Schott/Ohara Fluorite)+Baader Steeltrack, C8 XLT Mount: Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro, Rowan belt drive on Pillar mount+EQDIR+ADM saddle/dovetails Camera: JTW1100D mono , CentralDS 600, ASI120MM. ASI120MC, IDAS & Baader NB 2-inch filters, TS Filter Drawer System Accessories: TV Nagler T4 12 mm, Baader 8-24 MkIII, Ortho 5mm, Aspheric 31mm, Meade 12mm reticle, TV Powermate 2x & 2.5x, JMI+BAST Motorfocus+FCUSB, TV 0.8x FR/FF, Celestron 0.63FR, Orion RACI & Mag Mini, Canon IS 15x50 Bins
    Software: EQMOD/Stellarium/Autostakkert!/Registax/BackyardEOS/PixInsight,PHD2,AlignMaster, AstroTortilla, Straton

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    Default Re: Imaging upgrade: HEQ5 Pro Belt Drive Mod - ordered

    Thanks for posting this. I wasn't aware of this kit. Now you've got me thinking...

    Please post pics of the installation and a review when you are done.
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    DSO AP: Orion 200mm f/4 Newtonian Astrograph; ATIK 383L+; EFW2 filter wheel; Astrodon Ha,LRGB filters; KWIQ/QHY5 guide scope; Planetary AP: Celestron C-11; ZWO ASI120MC; Portable: Celestron C-8 on HEQ5 pro; C-90 on wedge; 20x80 binos; Etc: Canon 350D; Various EPs, etc. Obs: 8' Exploradome; iOptron CEM60 (pier);
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    Default Re: Imaging upgrade: HEQ5 Pro Belt Drive Mod - ordered

    I think that you will be extremely pleased with the performance of a belt drive Phil. Having used only belt drives on the iOptron iEQ45 and ZEQ25 mounts, I can recommend a belt drive over spur gears any day.

    You are going to eliminate a huge source of slop and free play and your guiding graphs should be smoother as a result. Not to mention the slews will be a bit quieter overall.

    Looking forward to your results...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
    My Flickr DSO set> https://www.flickr.com/photos/astronewb2011/sets/

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    Phil Leigh (01-03-2014)

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    Phil Leigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Imaging upgrade: HEQ5 Pro Belt Drive Mod - ordered

    So, the kit has arrived 48 hours after ordering... it was exceptionally well packed!
    Each individual part is packed and labelled. The instructions look simple enough - especially as they recommend leaving the mount on tripod/pier!
    I would go and fit it right now but we've just had a horrendous hailstorm here... maybe I'll wait for a while...
    Astronewb and Gaztro like this.
    Telescope: SWEquinox ED80 Pro (Schott/Ohara Fluorite)+Baader Steeltrack, C8 XLT Mount: Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro, Rowan belt drive on Pillar mount+EQDIR+ADM saddle/dovetails Camera: JTW1100D mono , CentralDS 600, ASI120MM. ASI120MC, IDAS & Baader NB 2-inch filters, TS Filter Drawer System Accessories: TV Nagler T4 12 mm, Baader 8-24 MkIII, Ortho 5mm, Aspheric 31mm, Meade 12mm reticle, TV Powermate 2x & 2.5x, JMI+BAST Motorfocus+FCUSB, TV 0.8x FR/FF, Celestron 0.63FR, Orion RACI & Mag Mini, Canon IS 15x50 Bins
    Software: EQMOD/Stellarium/Autostakkert!/Registax/BackyardEOS/PixInsight,PHD2,AlignMaster, AstroTortilla, Straton

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    Phil Leigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Imaging upgrade: HEQ5 Pro Belt Drive Mod - ordered

    So, my review will be in 2 parts:
    1) fitting and testing in daylight
    2) testing of goto and tracking, PEC and imaging

    Part 1:

    The kit is packed in separate bags as follows:

    RA parts (gear wheel x2, guide wheel, guide wheel pin, toothed belt)
    DEC parts (as RA, the guide wheel is larger than the RA one)
    machine cut acrylic spacer
    6 stainless steel hex bolts (to re-fit the drive cover+spacer
    4 hex keys to cover everything that needs to be done

    I also ordered the optional pinion removal tool which makes removal of the small gear wheel that is pressure-fitted to the motor axle very easy. I'm sure if you have a machine shop you already have something to do this... but I don't.

    The printed instructions (also available as a PDF from the Rowan website) are very clear and simple.
    I would say that the instructions make reference to a couple of measurements that need to be set correctly... I found that actually measuring these was unnecessary. You can easily align everything by eye - it is just common sense.

    The hardest part was removing all of the lithium grease I had carefully applied when I got the mount!

    In total it took me about 60 minutes to fit the kit. If I can do it, anyone can. Aside from the tools in the kit I needed a crosshead screwdriver to remove the original cover screws and a pair of needle nose (or electricians) pliers to hold the pinion extraction tool to stop it rotating.... oh and copious amounts of paper towels to mop up the old grease!

    No adjustment was necessary after fitting - it just worked.

    The first observation upon attempting a full speed manual slew was... silence. Well, almost. Seriously, the old "coffee grinder" noise of the (now departed) spur gears was replaced by a very subtle whirring noise. The drive is now inaudible from about 3 feet away.

    I did about 20 slews all over the sky and they all went very smoothly.
    One of the best things about this mod is that it is done with the mount in situ on tripod/pillar/pier... no need to mess up your PA or star alignment models.

    I made sure that I carefully cleaned and packed away all of the removed parts in case the mod needs to be reversed.

    So, now for part 2... for which I need some clear(ish) skies and no $%&^"£ rain!


    The proof of the pudding with this mod will be a reduction in PE (I have logs recorded from last week for comparison purposes) and hopefully an improvement in PHD guiding (again logs are recorded). I have no idea what to expect as Rowan do not make any specific claims... however other users report improvements.
    In particular I'm hoping to minimise any DEC backlash and also eliminating the need for sympathetic (east/west) balancing, as well as an improvement probably small) in PE.

    I hope to complete Part 2 of this review next week.
    Telescope: SWEquinox ED80 Pro (Schott/Ohara Fluorite)+Baader Steeltrack, C8 XLT Mount: Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro, Rowan belt drive on Pillar mount+EQDIR+ADM saddle/dovetails Camera: JTW1100D mono , CentralDS 600, ASI120MM. ASI120MC, IDAS & Baader NB 2-inch filters, TS Filter Drawer System Accessories: TV Nagler T4 12 mm, Baader 8-24 MkIII, Ortho 5mm, Aspheric 31mm, Meade 12mm reticle, TV Powermate 2x & 2.5x, JMI+BAST Motorfocus+FCUSB, TV 0.8x FR/FF, Celestron 0.63FR, Orion RACI & Mag Mini, Canon IS 15x50 Bins
    Software: EQMOD/Stellarium/Autostakkert!/Registax/BackyardEOS/PixInsight,PHD2,AlignMaster, AstroTortilla, Straton

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    Default Re: Imaging upgrade: HEQ5 Pro Belt Drive Mod - ordered

    Sounds like a 'must do' kit for any HEQ5 owner Phil. Very nice report, looking forward to your first light under the sky, whenever the weather permits.

    Cheers....Paul
    Phil Leigh likes this.
    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: Imaging upgrade: HEQ5 Pro Belt Drive Mod - ordered

    I've just learnt about this kit, after searching the web for how to reduce the DEC backlash that I'm getting on my HEQ5. This looks *very* interesting. Looking forward to part 2 of the review.

    Was it really as easy as you made it sound? I'm wary of opening up/modding my mount. In fact I'm wary enough of playing with the adjustment screws to try and remove the backlash just with the standard gears.

    I think it needs doing though, after an unfortunate incident with the scope/camera running into the tripod - for a while...when I fell asleep - I'm now seeing a DEC sawtooth in PHD that can be up to 1-1.5 pixel(s) in amplitude at worst case.

    Richard
    Richard
    Scopes
    : Altair Astro 8" RC (CF), SW Evostar 80ED DS-Pro. Mount: CEM60, SW HEQ5 Sensor: Atik 383L+ Mono CCD. Guiding:
    Lodestar x2 and SX OAG. Orion 50mm and ASI120MM. Filters: Baader 36mm NB and LRGB, SX Filter Wheel. Software: SGP, Stellarium, PHD2, PixInsight. Roll off roof Obsy and a bad case of imaging addiction.

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    Phil Leigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Imaging upgrade: HEQ5 Pro Belt Drive Mod - ordered

    First to Richard - yes it really was as easy as I said - took no more than one hour (really helps that you can do it in situ).
    You get all the tools apart from a cross-head screwdriver (and I found a small pair of pliers very useful too).
    Sorry to hear about your incident - at least the stepper motors don't get damaged by this (they just slip).

    I'm not quite ready to do part 2 of the review. Just after I did the mod the mount pillar got knocked out of polar alignment and I lost a night (foolishly) to that - however, last night I did get 4 clear hours and I was able to nail the PA with AlignMaster (to about 0.5 of an arcminute which is fine when guiding). I then ran a 5-cycle AutoPEC training session in EQASCOM... and checked that everything was working OK - which I think it is. I was able to grab some (badly moon affected) 10 minute subs purely as a test.

    I took the PHD log files in to compare with some from just before the mod.

    I realised 2 things; firstly the PHD settings need tweaking now that there is no backlash from the spur gears and secondly...well, I need to think more about this but the PHD RA graphs look good - RA is almost ruler flat. DEC is oscillating rapidly but with very small amplitudes so I THINK that is a settings thing. Also I'm not sure about balance with this new setup.

    However, I took the before/after log files into both PemPRO and PHDLab and they both said that the measured PE had reduced by over 50%! This seems odd since I thought that the major PE component is the RA worm, not the transfer gear...hmmm...


    Finally it's apparent that - unlike the previous setup - the DEC belt drive is capable of making small, rapid corrections....

    I need another clear night now where I just concentrate on PHD settings and so I can redo the logs and analysis.

    More later...
    Hard way likes this.
    Telescope: SWEquinox ED80 Pro (Schott/Ohara Fluorite)+Baader Steeltrack, C8 XLT Mount: Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro, Rowan belt drive on Pillar mount+EQDIR+ADM saddle/dovetails Camera: JTW1100D mono , CentralDS 600, ASI120MM. ASI120MC, IDAS & Baader NB 2-inch filters, TS Filter Drawer System Accessories: TV Nagler T4 12 mm, Baader 8-24 MkIII, Ortho 5mm, Aspheric 31mm, Meade 12mm reticle, TV Powermate 2x & 2.5x, JMI+BAST Motorfocus+FCUSB, TV 0.8x FR/FF, Celestron 0.63FR, Orion RACI & Mag Mini, Canon IS 15x50 Bins
    Software: EQMOD/Stellarium/Autostakkert!/Registax/BackyardEOS/PixInsight,PHD2,AlignMaster, AstroTortilla, Straton

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    Default Re: Imaging upgrade: HEQ5 Pro Belt Drive Mod - ordered

    However, I took the before/after log files into both PemPRO and PHDLab and they both said that the measured PE had reduced by over 50%! This seems odd since I thought that the major PE component is the RA worm, not the transfer gear...hmmm...
    Very nice report Phil, and very nice result. I'm not surprised that the PE is reduced that much. Although the worm is the major PE component, anything at all in the gear train amplifies or adds to whatever base PE the worm has. I say down with spur gears and transfer gears....!

    Btw, do you know what pitch the gears and belts are? The reason I ask is that when I substituted 2mm pitch pulleys and belts into the normally 3mm iEQ45 mount, it automatically reduced PE by 9 arc-seconds.

    iEQ45 Periodic Error Tests - a set on Flickr

    Wondering if you have some 'wiggle room' if your belt pitch is 3mm?

    Best...Paul
    Hard way likes this.
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    Default Re: Imaging upgrade: HEQ5 Pro Belt Drive Mod - ordered

    This thread kind of cooled down...Phil any update on PE and guiding improvements especially on DEC axis ? I am really considering doing the mod...

 

 
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