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"The Three-star alignment accurately corrects for cone error and subsequent GO-TO accuracy was impressive." BBC Sky At Night Magazine "I like these mounts, they are solid, well thought out and work quietly and effectively" Astronomy Now Magazine
"The Three-star alignment accurately corrects for cone error and subsequent GO-TO accuracy was impressive." BBC Sky At Night Magazine
"I like these mounts, they are solid, well thought out and work quietly and effectively" Astronomy Now Magazine
New updated model features USB socket on handset and dual-saddle (accepts both Vixen-type & Losmandy-type saddles).
A Rowan Belt Mod upgrade replaces the HEQ5 Pro's original spur gear drive train with timing belts. This reduces spur gear errors, which reduces tracking errors. Slewing is also much quieter (the 'grinding' noise that regular spur gears produce is significantly reduced). The pulley ratio is the same as the factory gears so Sky Watcher SynScan hand controller functions are unaffected.
The HEQ5 Pro mount is considered by many to be Sky-Watcher's 'sweet spot'. A mount costing less than £1k (before Rowan upgrade) with an impressive combination of ease-of-use, stability and tracking performance. It is probably the mount most recommended to someone wanting to begin astrophotography.
The SynScan computerised handset's two-line illuminated LCD screen is easy to read and navigate. One-star, two-star and three-stars alignment routines are available and are easy to use. All work but three-star alignment is the 'gold standard' because it corrects for cone error. Once aligned, SynScan Go-To will automatically place objects in the eyepiece field-of-view wherever they are in the sky. Think Sat-Nav for astronomers! You can also control the mount from a laptop or desktop PC via the handset's RS-232 serial port (cable available separately) or, even easier, connect the mount directly using a Lynx Astro EQDIR adapter.
Similar to Sky-Watcher's larger EQ6 Pro, the HEQ5’s counterweight shaft slides neatly into the body of the mount for easy storage and transportation. It also has a built-in polar alignment scope which makes it easier to align the polar axis of the mount to the Earth’s axis of rotation (whilst not strictly necessary for Go-To pointing accuracy, tracking is improved if the mount is polar-aligned). Looking through the polar scope you will see a graphic that enables you to offset quickly and easily from Polaris to the true north celestial pole.
Compatible with EQMOD using a Lynx Astro EQDIR adapter.
Using EQMod article by Steve Richards
Ordered this to upgrade from my original EQ5 Mount which i subsequently upgraded to GoTo using the kit obtained from FLO some years ago.Arrived very quickly once ordered and was well boxed and protected.Have to say that I was very impressed with the unboxing, the quality of the components is a vast improvement on my old EQ5.Care and attention to detail have also improved. As an example the bubble level on the mount is very accurate c.f. my old EQ5 and the polariscope/mount alignment is so good that i am not even remotely tempted to try and remove the tiny error observed on a distant land target.Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to get out and use it in anger as yet due to the poor weather down here in Cornwall, but I have very high hopes/expectations based on the initial set up and calibration activities achieved thus far. Oh and the Rowan belt mod is super smooth and very quiet!
This is a review of the Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro Rowan mod. Bought 7/12/21I've had this mount for 9 months now. My previous experience is almost entirely with a 2005 vintage Vixen GP mount /Starbook Type S which was fairly heavily overloaded by my c 10kg 8" Newtonian/Full frame camera, so I didn't have a lot to compare it to.First impressions were good. I had heard bad things about quality control with Skywatcher but it all looks well put together and is nicely finished. Not as good as the Vixen, but fine, though paint appears to be starting to bubble on the counterweight. On the subject of counterweights, it comes with two 5kg weights. This is inadequate for anything like its stated payload: I have to use my 7.5kg Vixen weight and one 5Kg one to balance my OTA. This seems like unnecessary penny pinching by Skywatcher as many people will need to source additional weights.The tripod is sturdy though the mount attaching bar/leg spreader/accessory tray is a bit rudimentary and not that easy to tighten. The original bar had a thick/sharp lump of chrome bending back around the nut but this was quickly replaced by FLO. I would have preferred a proper tray rather than a panel with holes and the faces that press on the legs never seem to fit quite right. The tripod is quite a bit taller than my Vixen one so I seem to spend quite bit of time standing on a box if viewing objects high in the sky. On the mount, the bubble level seems reasonably accurate when the tripod is levelled with a sprit level but is too small really to use for balancing on its own. The RA scale is not accurate enough to be more than a reference marker. The setting circles - or at least the Dec one - seem to be intended only for setting the polar scope orientation. It slips when you rotate the axis so can't be used as a proper setting circle. The OTA clamp is tightened by two sturdy knobs which are just the right distance apart to take the skin off my knuckles every time I put the tube on. Once its all attached and levelled its nice and sturdy though. There is a certain amount of play in the RA axis but this shouldn't matter as its always driving in one direction when tracking. On mine, the Dec clamp wasn't tight enough to properly secure the OTA which caused a few annoying slippages during sessions but this is easily fixed by removing the screw holding the clamp knob on and resetting the knob in a different position so that it tightens more.I use a Lynx Astro mains power supply. The power plug is a simple push on and, along with the relatively stiff power lead, which tends to pull on it, it does not give the most secure fit on the rather wobbly mount power connector. I imagine this is the first bit that will fail. I tend to wrap the power lead round the mount to stop it pulling and so far it has only come out once, when it got caught. I only ever used the SynScan hand controller. It can be controlled from a laptop but I don't want to. The hand controller works fine though now and again the 'down' button has become a bit unresponsive. I had to re-install the firmware once to fix this and a guiding issue. Firmware update is simple enough as long as you do things is just the right order to get the handset to talk to your PC. The hand controller is otherwise easy to use though I can't always find the right direction button without looking. Some sort of finger guide would help with 'blind' navigation.SynScan is very easy to use though selecting a named star to target can be long winded. It provides a simple very long scrolling list and it can take ages to find the one you want if its towards the middle of the alphabet. Itís a shame that there isn't a way of selecting the starting letter of the star name. The same goes for selecting items from the Deep Sky Tour (I love the deep sky tour: when you've finished your 'primary mission' it will find fun stuff for you to look at). The hand controller doesn't appear to have any sort of internal battery. It remembers your coordinates but loses the time every time you cycle the power which is a bit of a pain. My bad knees mean that I can't use the polar scope but there is a routine on SynScan to polar align, which seems to be some sort of variant on the drift method. It apparently works but looks a bit of a faff. I bought an iPolar which is great.In operation this Rowan mod is essentially silent, vibration-free in sidereal tracking and not too noisy under high speed slewing. Much quieter than the Vixen which does make we worry about annoying the neighbours late at night. The Vixen also always transmits some vibration to the OTA which the HEQ doesnít seem to.So to operation. I had quite a bit of trouble initially getting the go-to and tracking to be as accurate as I hoped. This was probably a combination of the firmware issue, inaccurate polar alignment (pre iPolar) and general inexperience. Now, when selecting alignment stars, they almost always fall well within the field of my 9x60 finder scope. After alignment, targets generally appear well within the field of my 12mm eyepiece (100x mag) which I am very pleased about. Except when they don't. Sometimes things just donít seem to work as expected but I understand that this is a condition called 'astronomer's curse'. It seems to be becoming less frequent. Maybe I have antibodies. On the issue of alignment, it offers you a relatively small list of stars to align on and that's your lot (though I have a feeling there might be a facility to manually enter some 'favourite' stars). With the Vixen/Starbook you could use any object in its overall database to align on and you could add an alignment star at any point. Each time you added an alignment star the next go-to accuracy would be improved. With SynScan, it doesn't seem to improve until you have finished alignment at which point it becomes accurate. I haven't done any serious deep sky astrophotography with it but it seems to manage 90 second unguided subs quite well with the OTA/Canon 5DIII. With a 1200mm long 200mm aperture tube and a 3/4kg full frame DSLR trying to wobble about on it this seems reasonable. I'm too lazy to be obsessive about balancing though I try to get it right ish. I upgraded to get a mount that would routinely and accurately find the objects I wanted to look at, and would track those objects well enough for me to dabble in deep sky photography (I'm mainly interested in Lunar/planetary). It had to be portable (bad knees) and reasonably quick and easy to set up. On those counts, in combination with the iPolar, and a good bit of experience with it, I have to say I love it. There were some gremlins early on but FLO were as excellent as ever with help and advice. Is the Rowan upgrade worth it? I have no idea as this is the only one I have used, but it certainly works very well. I imagine the belts must wear out eventually. Add a feature to search objects on the hand controller and I'll die a happy man. Highly recommended. FLO were, of course, excellent throughout.
I ordered the Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro with Rowan Upgrade on March 29 and it was clearly mentioned on the web-page, that the Rowan Upgrade mount would take some days to be available. No problem.The mount was then delivered to me in Hong Kong already on April 19. That was considerably faster than what I had expected.Also, delivery charges are fair (DHL intercontinental) and transparent.The package arrived in top condition.I will buy from First Light Optics again. Thank you for the excellent service
HEQ5 and the new SW Espirit 100 arriving on my birthday! It was like being a young kid again!Super sturdy mount that hopefully will take my imaging to another level. My SkyGuider Pro was starting to give me a few problems - I couldnít get more than 180sec exposures without noticeable star trails starting to form. After a couple of sessions where tracking seemed to be getting worse, I thought: time for an upgrade.FLO were fantastic once again offering a range of options when I reached out to them. Their support seems to be universally praised and IMO, its well deserved too! I was toying with the idea of going to the next size up but this is big enough for me. Anything bigger would probably be too large and too heavy for me. Even with the HEQ5, setting up the mount is a more of a challenge compared to the SkyGuider Pro - adjusting declination is tougher but it does mean that I can use the Polar Alignment feature on the ASIAir Pro. The first night out was a bit of a write-off though. While initial tests indoors seemed to go ok, the first night out was anything but successful. I had the ASIAir linked to the mount via the SynScan controller. Iíd read that this method of connection had caused others problems and I started to experience the same. At one time, I thought Iíd trashed the hand controller as this became completely unresponsive. Even after upgrading the SysnScan firmware (it was way out of date), I still couldnít get the ASIAir to connect. With one last effort at power cycling everything, everything started to work again. But eventually, when I got the polar alignment sorted, yep, the clouds came in. The next night I went out... no problem at all with the connection everything worked perfectly (ok, I had to power cycle everything once!). I still think Iíll go for the EQMOD cable and leave out the SynScan. Iím not 100% sure about the SynScan - the keypad is arcane and trying to setup the alignment without the ASIAir proved fruitless. My initial attempts at a two star alignment using the handset failed miserably. After setting up the controller to point to what it thought was Sirius, I couldnít use the handset to tune the positioning - it just didnít seem to respond to key presses. In additional to that, it was miles aware from the target anyway. Iím prepared to accept that it was entirely down to my initial setup but in my defence, the instructions werenít that great. Itís for this reason that Iím giving 4 stars but in all honesty, Iím not going to be using the feature at all going forward. Bypassing the SynScan is clearly the way to get the best out of this mount in my opinion, though Iím sure thereís a lot of folk out there that love the controller and with better skills than mine, they probably get things setup perfectly.So was the Roman Upgrade worth it? To be honest, I can really say because Iíve had nothing to compare it to but I can say that its a massive step up from my SkyGuider Pro and if it only serves to get rid of that terrible noise that Iíve heard on some YouTube videos, the cost is worth it. Very happy!
First of all, there is nothing wrong with First Light Optics, my gosh they are literally going the extra mile for you. I ordered this mount with the Esprit 80ED, and additional items as the PoleMaster and some UHC and L-Pro filters. DHL shipment was super fast when it left from Exeter to Saudi Arabia, within 36 hours it was 60 Km from my home address in Saudi Arabia. The shipment arrived with all 4 boxes in Bahrain. It took almost a week for DHL in Saudi Arabia to figure out how 4 boxes could become 1 shipment, and it took me many afternoons in the local DHL office to find two missing boxes after they successfully delivered the tripod and the Esprit 80ED telescope. DHL would receive 1 star in this story. Unpacking all the items was like a X-mas morning, boy did I had fun. Everything is complete and I had fun setting the whole rig up. A few things are stopping me from taking some awesome pictures here on the 26" latitude. One, a sand storm is going back and forward over the peninsula, two, I'm waiting for a few more items to be delivered (my own fault, I ordered them too late), and three..., a bolt of the counterweight if broken. The plastic cap is loose and it seems that I need to find a solution for this. Metalworks is not really my forte ao I hope that I can find a solution online. So should it receive 5 stars, yes, I think so, if only better counterweight bolts were included (not too much to ask from Sky-Watcher if you pay 955 pound sterling for the mount.
I was looking to upgrade my EQ5 pro to HEQ5pro since adding extra kit had increased the load somewhat. Several suppliers do a Rowan upgrade, but I finally chose to go with FLO. I placed the order on a Monday morning and was amazed to find it was ready for shipment on the Wednesday. Fantastic upgrade to EQ5 - the HEQ5+Rowan is so much smoother and quieter and of course nearly doubles the maximum load over the EQ5. Looking forward to much more reliable guiding from now on.Great service from FLO.
When I first received my HEQ5 mount, there was quite a bit of friction in the RA and DEC movements. I returned the mount for the Regrease option. The mount now moves freely. Along with the Rowan Belt upgrade, I would recommend also purchasing the Regrease option.
I would have given 5 stars but I've experienced cloudy skies since receiving the mount. Because of that, I haven't been outside to gauge the mount's performance. Go figure. I will say that the shipping was fast. I mean FAST! I live in the States, and within one week the mount arrived here in Michigan. I purchased the mount with the Rowan Belt mod installed. It is very quiet. Also, even with the extra cost of the mod and figuring in shipping, it was at a lower cost than if I had purchased it from a U.S. outlet.I would recommend First Light Optics.
Got this mount as a standing because my ioptron cem 25 p did not show so the guys at flo sent me one of these it came very quickly and it's ace 2 minutes subs unguided no hassle I will have to see how cheeky I can get the customer service from these guys is second to non big thanks its very quiet and the goto is spot on
This is my first mount with any sort of tracking and I'm seeing things I wasn't even getting close to before. I wish I'd bought one years ago! As you would expect with a Sky-Watcher mount it's solid and accurate, without being too heavy to move in and out of the house. Great service too from FLO who answered all my questions very promptly.
Read all 11 customer reviews...
We don't because HEQ5 Pro mounts are already fitted with decent SKF bearings that are more than adequate and the days when you might open a HEQ5 and find thick gluey grease are long gone. Sky-Watcher now use a good quality grease.
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