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iOptron SmartEQ Pro+

23 Oct, 2019 04:15
Hi,I planning to buy refractor Tecnosky AP 70/420 ED + 0.8x reducer/flattener and mount iOptron SmartEQ Pro+.
How long exposure manages to do this setup without guiding?
23 Oct, 2019 20:11
I have one with a William Optics Z61 so our weights aren't too far off. I like the mount but I will say it's pretty erratic. The longest I've been able to get a decent unguided shot was about 2 minutes. Guiding helps out immensely!
23 Oct, 2019 22:42
60/360 + a crop sensor and I own a specimen of unusually strong personality. 61 seconds has been the absolute best, usually I manage 30 to 40 seconds and even then a significant percentage will have observable trails.
Guided gives me 1-3 minutes without much trouble.

Slightly east-heavy balancing, fixing the play, perfect PA, tightening the knobs, all them help.

But it will always want to throw a tantrum for about one minute every two to five minutes, that's the core urge you are fighting against, both guided and unguided. smile
Edited 24 Oct, 2019 09:36
24 Oct, 2019 10:47
I've one of these but I never tried to use it unguided. Anyway one of the weak point of this little one is the tripod in dotation.
There're some mod that can help to improve the stiffness and the mounting hole of the head is luckly a standard 3/8" so if you have heavy-duty photo tripod you can use it instead of the unstable one in dotation.
24 Oct, 2019 15:22
I was a user of this mount, but I have to say that without guiding it would be quite terrible, maybe 10 seconds or more? I don't know the total weight of your instruments, but if guided you can expect a picture of 5 min exposure without trails, although the result is not that robust. Anyway it is cheap and portable enough. It is worthwhile to have a guiding system. smile Have fun.
06 Feb, 2020 14:40
I am looking to upgrade mine. I use it with the small TS 60/360, the recommended flattener, the tiny ZWO guidescope, the 120MM and a D7500 body. Total weight of the equipment is about 2.5kg and I have balanced it as perfectly as possible (which is not easy btw, as it looks like I'm on a bitter spot where the mount without any counterweight is too light to balance the gear, while even the smallest counterweight outbalances it by far, unless you push it really really high and also push the bar as deep as possible).

My biggest problems are:
1) The altitude and azimuth adjustment screws are of very poor quality and the whole way the mount head screws on the tripod leaves a lot to be desired. The mount head will be screwed either too loose (=instability when making movements) or too tight (=azimuth adjustment screws become nearly impossible to turn). Also, screwing/unscrewing the mount head markedly alters its leveling.

As a result, making the adjustments necessary for accurate PA (orientation and leveling) is a royal PITA.

2) Fits of rage. It will guide happily with <2 RMS error for 5, 10, even 30 minutes, then literally all it takes is me turning my head for a couple of seconds and the guiding error skyrockets, reaching 4,5, even 8" RMS for a few minutes until it returns back to normal.

3) A play in RA that I just can't get rid of even though I've disassembled it three times fiddled with the adjustment screws for countless hours.

In the few occasions that I plugged an ASI178 instead of the DSLR, guiding and tracking were much improved (but not gone) which leads me to the conclusion that apart from everything else the real payload capacity of the mount is closer to 2-2.2kg.

I don't want to go to CEM60/Atlas/EQ6 territory. The mount will never sit in one place and these are just too heavy to carry around. I just want something with better build quality that won't require an hour of adjustments and tuning before every session, and perhaps be able to carry 5-6kg of weight in the future.

Do you think the EQ5 Pro would be a good upgrade in this regard?

06 Feb, 2020 20:04
Hi all,

please consider: none mount is capable of tracking accurately without guiding if you carry it around (like me, I'm a mobile AA only). There exist mounts who can do it but, they must not be moved and have to be fix-mounted to a serious socket and they need to be payed by a 5digit $ amount and above. Still…..

Yes, there are a handfull of Chuck Norrises out there who need no guiding. Those exceptions only confitrm the rule ;-)

Of course, all depends on focal length and I'd say anything beyond 30secs with the given 420mm FL will only be acceptable on Easter-Sunday ;-) (eggy stars).
Mgen3 just came to the market. A good opportunity to get a used Mgen2 ;-)

Clear skies!
06 Feb, 2020 20:32
Well obviously, but mine at least seems to be very unreliable even when guiding.
06 Feb, 2020 21:07
This is a mistake. The CEM25p is soooo much better. Save a little more money and get the much better mount.
Edited 06 Feb, 2020 21:08
07 Feb, 2020 10:39
Hi, my concern given my turbulent experience with the smarteq is about QA.

Sure, the CEM25p has impressive specs, but what if my particular model has minor defects? Or all these discussions about how easy it is to ruin them. Perhaps Skywatcher (or some other vendor) mount build quality is more reliable even if they are not as good as a "best case" ioptron? I really don't know, I am asking you guys. smile
07 Feb, 2020 12:33
IMHO it is not easy to ruin the SmartEQ. Ok, I have improved mine mechanically a bit, I worked over the suspension of the dec-axis. It's more rugged now. But since then, I could even overload it with a 6"RC…. Don't do this (!) although it's possible when done with extra much care!! NB: I did this exeptionally only 2…3 times! Usually it carried a TSAPO72F6.

I heard the CEM25p is easy to ruin, but I have no experience with it. I only have
- SmartEQ+ (for travel and the small stuff)
- iEQ30pro (for Hypergraph150F2.8 and RC6"smile
- AZEQ6GT (for RC10"smile
Exclusively mobile use.

The SmartEQ + TSAPO72F + Mgen2 + Eos6Da were a dream-team. Then I sold the Apo in favour of a Hypergraph 150F2.8. Since then I use it as a reliable mount, easy and quick setup, with a DSLR and standard lens + Mgen2. Only 15minutes or less from pulling it out of the car until ready for shooting.

Seems like iOptron has variations in QA, sometimes great, sometimes….. different. Seems like I was lucky so far ;-)

If size and weight are not critical, SkyWatcher is definitely a good choice and almost "indestructable". Guiding is necessary anyway, so…
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