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Model: skywatcher-neq6-pro-20854Brand: Skywatcher
This latest model Skywatcher NEQ6 PRO SynScan is essentially an EQ6 PRO Synscan with counterweight extension bar and dual-saddle to suit Skywatcher 75mm and Skywatcher 45mm (Losmandy-style and Vixen-style) dovetails.
For astronomers seeking superior equatorial control and the ease of a precision computerized GOTO system, the Skywatcher NEQ6 PRO SynScan is your answer.
The NEQ6 PRO SynScan is designed with the novice user in mind. With the user-friendly push-button hand control, locating and viewing the treasures of the night sky becomes as easy as a walk in the park.
The hand control allows you to point the telescope at a specific object or even tour the skies at the touch of a button. The user-friendly menu system allows automatic slewing to over 13,400 objects. Even an inexperienced astronomer can master its variety of features in a few observing sessions.
The NEQ6 PRO SynScan also comes with features that advanced astronomers can appreciate: Positioning Accuracy up to 1 arc minute. Accuracy enhanced by software collimation error (mount mechanical error) compensation. Stepper motors with 1.8° step angle and 64 micro steps driven. Slewing speed up to 3.4°/sec (800X). ST-4 Auto Guider Interface for astro-photography. Guiding speed selectable from 0.25X, 0.50X, 0.75X, or 1X. Object database containing complete M, NGC, and IC catalogues.
Minimal vibration for steady long-exposure photography.
"Best for heavy scopes".... "We practically had to thump it to induce any vibrations"BBC Sky At Night Magazine
"I like these mounts, they are solid, well thought out and work quietly and effectively"Astronomy Now Magazine
Using EQMod article by Steve Richards
I bought my NEQ6 second hand, although the seller claimed it was "as new", at 6 months old it was in a sorry state. The main problem with it was that the Alt/Az bolts had not only bent but overridden the lug that is used to adjust and lock altitude, I don't know if was down to ham fistedness by the previous owner or the fact that it has the monster Skywatcher 300PDS on the mount. Either way, despite this being a really solid and substantial mount the standard bolts were not up to bracing such a heavy OTA and I had to replace them with 3rd Party "Upgrade bolts". This is not an uncommon issue if you look at SGL, so if you have a heavier OTA I would recommend the bolt upgrade. Having sorted this small issue the mount is brilliant, the dual saddle allows me to use either the 300PDS with it's Losmandy plate or one of my smaller scopes with Vixen plates. The built in Goto system is very good, especially after getting polar alignment right, it performs reasonably accurately for visual observing following a 2 or 3 star alignment and can be fine tuned using the PAE utility if required.I also use my NEQ6 for astrophotgraphy both guided and unguided. For unguided AP it's OK provided that you get polar alignment as accurately as you can get it and do some PEC training before starting. I had some very noticeable trailing every 8 minutes on my mount with the 300PDS mounted. This could be down to a number of factors, including overloading, but taking the time to do PEC training considerably reduced the error. With a guider plugged into the ST4 port this error goes away completely, but my experiences matched those of a friend with a new NEQ6, all the same even with the huge 300PDS and good alignment 60-120s exposures were regularly achievable. I did try guiding with the 300PDS but with an "all up" weight of around 30Kg although the NEQ6 handled it, it was struggling, I now image with a lighter OTA.As someone has mentioned, the power connectors are not great, I initially had issues with the car style connector dropping out of the socket into my battery, which I fixed by using a marine type socket, but I also have the issue of the plug into the mount dropping out particularly if you slew across the meridian and have to move the hand controller around. My fix is to use a Velcro cable tie to fix the power plug to the hand controller plug when setting up to stop it moving / dropping out.Overall I think this is a brilliant heavyweight mount at present I have two OTAs and one mount, another NEQ6 is definitely on the shortlist to allow me to some observing while the first mount is taking pictures.
I bought this mount after having read so much about it on the Internet. It certainly does live up to its reputation of being extremely sturdy, well-built and easy to setup and control. Putting it together was a breeze and with the help of AstronomyShed's video tutorials, I marked the "home position" precisely with a permanent marker and aligned the polarscope to the mount. Regarding the sturdiness of the mount, the build quality and tracking capability, this mount cannot be equaled at its price. The SynScan Hand Controller proved decent and never yielded problems. Polar alignments were easy to perform as well and were always precise when the polarscope was well aligned. The AutoGuider port is also brilliant and works perfectly with the Orion StarShoot AutoGuider using PHD Guiding. Important to mention is that nowadays I have moved away from the SynScan Hand Controller and use an EQDirect USB interface. This was an excellent upgrade and makes this mount even more attractive as it is wonderful to control via EQMod and Stellarium, along with the likes of Alignmaster for more precise polar alignments. The only problems I have had with this mount are power related. The power cable included is very fiddly and with slewing, the cable would wiggle in the 12V connector and I would lose power. This was extremely frustrating and I fixed it by sticking the power cable across the front of the mount with power tape so it couldn't wiggle. Also, using this mount alongside a CCD camera with its cooler would drop the voltage across the mount below 12V and cause the power LED to flash, affecting tracking. This was fixed by buying a simple Universal Car Laptop Charger, setting it to 15V and using this as the power cable instead. This ensures the mount always receives between 12 and 15 V for continuous power. Overall I have to say that I would never go back on buying this mount. It is absolutely perfect even for large payloads and tracking with autoguiding is fantastic. This is a true astrophotographer's mount and like they say: Invest in a good mount first and foremost and then think about everything else later.
Surely the EQ6 mount is too well known to require a review? Maybe but like all things astronomical, this excellent mount continues to evolve so perhaps it’s worth another look.Fit and finish on the latest incarnation, the NEQ6 Pro is pretty good and mine arrived in pristine condition. I particularly wanted to be able to use both Vixen/Synta and the more substantial Losmandy dovetail equipped telescopes on this mount so the fact that two pucks would be supplied, one for each type of dovetail was going to be a little bonus. Imagine then my surprise and pleasure to discover that a single dual saddle came installed on the mount and, even better, this was of the spring loaded compression type. I have always thought that the rather crude ‘bolt tightening up against one side of the dovetail bar’ system was a low grade solution so this new saddle was a breath of fresh air. ADM engineering it isn’t but it is a good leap forwards by Sky-Watcher who have finally recognised that the Vixen dovetail is quite challenged with heavier ‘scopes and a source of potential differential flexure when imaging with anything but the lightest of systems.The first thing I normally do with new equipment like this is to download the latest firmware but there was no need, it was up to date as supplied. I checked for smooth rotation of the RA and DEC axes and all was well here so time for switch-on. No problems here either, the usual singing note from the motors indicated that they were ready for action so I completed the date/time/location etc pages then carried out a dummy 1 star alignment inside the house as you do hear horror stories of mounts ending up pointing in totally the wrong direction! Not this one, it stopped exactly where I expected although I did notice that the drive had a little more momentary ‘rattle’ just before it stopped than I am used to with my older SkyScan upgraded EQ6 but this was the same as all the other (N)EQ6s I have had contact with in recent years.I still use a polarscope for most of my polar alignments (it appeals to my ‘fine engineering and tinkering’ side) and to my surprise, the crosshair reticule was perfectly centred in the RA axis when I carried out the start of the ‘object at a long distance’ alignment. This made calibrating the rest of the system a breeze.I am loving this mount although its white livery does make my original EQ6 look a tad dated!
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